CHALLENGE: Nambour teenager Lachlan Smart is preparing to be the youngest person to fly solo around the world in a single-engine aircraft.
CHALLENGE: Nambour teenager Lachlan Smart is preparing to be the youngest person to fly solo around the world in a single-engine aircraft. Che Chapman

Nambour teen preps to be youngest pilot to circle the world

A NAMBOUR teenager is on target to become the youngest pilot to circumnavigate the world.

What was a dream for Lachlan Smart, 18, looks like becoming a reality as plans and sponsorships fall into place.

Mr Smart plans to take off in June on a 70-day trip to 20 countries which will secure him a place in the record books as the youngest person to fly around the world.

If successful, he will be aviation's version of Jess Watson, a Sunshine Coast 16-year-old who became the youngest person to sail around the world in 2009-10.

Mr Smart's grandfather, Phil Harrip, said work to secure sponsorships and raise money to cover the $400,000 for the Wings Around the World project was on target for take-off.

"We're at the stage now where we know this is going to be a trip," Mr Harrip said.

"It's not some kid having a dream to fly around the world. This is happening."

Mr Harrip said the Wings Around the World team was looking for a sponsor to take advertising space on the aircraft.

"The opportunity is there for people to get on board and fly with him or not," he said.

"If they want to get on board with him, it's going to be a lot cheaper before than it will be afterwards, I can guarantee."

He said his grandson was doing everything necessary to prepare for the trip.

The teenager had recently completed his instrument and night-flying endorsements.

He had also met with ferry pilots, who fly planes around the world, to learn about the practicalities of flying, landing and taking off in various airports and countries.

"He's growing," Mr Harrip said.

"He's getting more and more confident every day. His skill level is increasing."

Mr Harrip said his grandson had also met with Tracey Curtis-Taylor, who recreated Amy Johnson's solo flight from Great Britain to Australia in a bi-plane earlier this year.

He is in no doubt that the teenager can achieve his round-the-world record goal.

"When people meet Lachlan, you can understand - he's very capable."

Mr Harrip said his grandson simply wanted to make the journey to send a message to other kids "that you can do anything".

"You just have to put your mind to it. It doesn't matter how hard it is, if you work at it, you can do it," he said.



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