11 June–4 August 1971: Sheila Scott, OBE

Sheila Scott on the wing of her Piper PA-23-250 Aztec D, Mythre, G-AYTO, 1971. (NASA)
Sheila Scott on the wing of her Piper PA-23-250 Aztec D, Mythre, G-AYTO, 1971. (NASA)

11 June 1971: Sheila Scott, OBE (née Sheila Christine Hopkins) departed Nairobi, Kenya on her third solo around-the-world flight. On this flight she used a new airplane, a twin-engine Piper Aztec which she named Mythre. It carried United Kingdom registration G-AYTO. She used a NASA satellite data communication system to constantly relay her position to a NIMBUS satellite, and from there to a ground station at Fairbanks, Alaska.

Sheila Scott’s Piper PA-23-250 Aztec D, G-ATYO, Mythre, at Kidlington Airport, Oxfordshire, England, 1971. (Tim R. Badham)
Sheila Scott’s Piper PA-23-250 Aztec D, G-ATYO, Mythre, at Kidlington Airport, Oxfordshire, England, 1971. (Tim R. Badham)

On this flight, Sheila Scott planned to not only fly around the world, but to fly from the Equator, over the North Pole, and back to the Equator again. She flew her Aztec from London, England to Nairobi, Kenya, where she began to Equator–North Pole–Equator portion of the flight. Scott took off from Nairobi on 11 June and headed northward to Khartoum, Sudan; Bengazi, Libya; Malta; arriving back at London on 21 June. From there she continued to Bolo, Norway; Andoya, Norway; Nord, Greenland; across the North Pole on 28 June; then southward to Barrow, Alaska; arriving at Anchorage, Alaska on 3 July; San Francisco, California; Honolulu, Hawaii on 11 July. She recrossed the Equator heading south to Canton Island. On 23 July Mythre arrived at Nadi, Viti Levu, Fiji, and then on to Noumea, New Caledonia. After a stop at Townsville, Scott arrived at Darwin, Australia, 1 August. From there she continued to Singapore, Madras, India; Karachi, Pakistan; Bahrain, Athens and finally completed her journey at London on 4 August.

Sheila Scott set a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) record for the San Francisco, California to Honolulu, Hawaii segment, averaging 236.56 kilometers per hour (146.992 miles per hour).

FAI Record File Num #4627 [Direct Link]
Status: ratified – superseded since approved
Region: World
Class: C (Powered Aeroplanes)
Sub-Class: C-1d (Landplanes: take off weight 1750 to 3000 kg)
Category: Feminine
Group: 1 : internal combustion engine
Type of record: Speed over a recognised course
Performance: 236.56 km/h
Date: 1971-07-11
Course/Location: San Francisco, CA (USA) – Honolulu, HI (USA)
Claimant Sheila Scott (GBR)
Aeroplane: Piper PA-23 Aztec D (G-AYTO)
Engines: 2 Lycoming IO-540

The Piper PA-23-250 Aztec D was a six-place twin-engine light airplane based on the earlier PA-23-235 Apache, with a larger cabin and more powerful engines. It was of all-metal construction and had retractable tricycle landing gear. The Aztec D had an empty weight of 3,042 pounds (1,379.8 kilograms) and a gross weight of 5,200 pounds (2,358.7 kilograms). It was powered by two 541.5-cubic-inch-displacement (8.8 liter) air-cooled, fuel injected Lycoming IO-540-C4B5 horizontally-opposed 6-cylinder engines, which produced 250 horsepower at 2,575 r.p.m, each, and turned two-bladed Hartzell constant speed propellers. These gave it a cruise speed of 183 knots (338.9 kilometers per hour) and maximum speed of 188 knots (348.2 kilometers per hour). The ceiling was 21,100 feet (6,431.3 meters). With standard fuel capacity of 144 gallons (545.1 liters) the airplane’s range was 722 nautical miles (1,337.1 kilometers). Mythre carried an auxiliary fuel tank in the passenger cabin.After the around-the-world flight, Scott returned Mythre to the Piper Aircraft Company at Lock Haven, Pennsylvania for overhaul. Following Hurricane Agnes in June 1972, the Piper factory was flooded to a depth of 16 feet (4.9 meters) and Scott’s airplane along with many others and much of the tooling for aircraft manufacture, was destroyed.

"Sheila Scott over the Top—Piper Aztec," by Paul Couper, Guild of Aviation Artists, 2008. 62″ × 52″, oil/acrylic.
“Sheila Scott over the Top—Piper Aztec,” by Paul Couper, Guild of Aviation Artists, 2008. 62″ × 52″, oil/acrylic.

This painting is available from the Guild of Aviation Artists at:

http://www.gava.org.uk/index.php?option=com_phocagallery&searchterm=Paul%20Couper&view=category&id=12&Itemid=534&picsearch=simple

© 2015, Bryan R. Swopes

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