Flying granny lands a first for Britain

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The Independent Online
Flying granny Jennifer Murray landed back in Britain today as the first woman ever to have piloted a helicopter around the world.

Having braved sandstorms, cyclones and smoking volcanos, the 56-year- old grandmother and her co-pilot Quentin Smith, 26, finally came back down to earth in Denham, Buckinghamshire.

They were cheered in to land by well-wishers including the Duchess of York, at the end of their 97-day marathon trip. The Duchess said: "I just think she is amazing. I'm completely humbled and she did a fantastic job ... I'm just totally and utterly in awe of the two of them."

During their circumnavigation, Mrs Murray and Mr Smith covered over 30,000 miles and travelled to over 26 countries. They made over 80 refuelling stops in Europe, the Middle East, South East Asia, the US and Canada, before flying home across the north Atlantic via Greenland and Iceland. Mrs Murray said: "It has been the trip of a lifetime and we have certainly been very lucky with few major technical problems and generally excellent weather. We have confounded critics who said the trip was not possible."

It was not all flying, however, for the pair, who raised thousands of pounds for Save the Children. They had time to stop off at the Monaco Grand Prix, as well as leading a fly-past in Hong Kong during the handover celebrations.