All posts by Wings Around The World

Sunshine Coast teen lands to hero’s welcome with world record in bag

Sunshine Coast teenager Lachlan Smart created history this morning when he touched down at Maroochydore Airport, becoming the youngest person to ever complete a solo circumnavigation of the world in a single engine aircraft.

Smart departed the same airport on the Sunshine Coast on July 4 this year and stopped in 24 locations and 15 countries along the seven-week odyssey that will see him achieve a Guinness World Record.

The previous benchmark was set by American Matt Guthmiller who completed his circumnavigation when he was 19 years, 7 months and 15 days. Smart is 18 years, 7 months and 21 days today.

Smart’s last leg – from Bundaberg to the airport where he has done much of his flight training since the dream of taking on the record breaking flight began two and a half years ago – was punctuated by a crowd of hundreds that included family, friends, official partners, government officials and the adoring public who have supported his journey.

“What a welcome,” Smart said on touching down.

“The support I have received from family, friends, the local Sunshine Coast council and community and people around the world that I have never even met has been incredible from the first moment we spoke about this journey.

“To actually be here, having flown around the world, for over 24,000 nautical miles (45,000km) is just a great relief.

“I can’t wait to spend some time with my family and sleep in my own bed.”

While setting the Guinness World Record was key to Smart’s journey, there has always been an ulterior, more honourable reason for taking on the gargantuan task of flying around the world alone.

“I have always, for as long as I can remember, wanted to inspire others, particularly young people, to chase their dreams,” Smart said.

“Until a few years ago I wasn’t sure how, or what, I was going to do to make that happen and then the idea of this flight came along and my team and I have dedicated almost every waking moment to it for those two and a half years.

“Age is just a number, and really, if we want to achieve something, in most situations it shouldn’t be a barrier to success.

“This trip wasn’t just the flight itself, it was creating a dream, building a team, raising funds and spreading the message of youth achievement to people all around the world. It has been an amazing journey and something I am very proud of.”

As part of the homecoming celebrations the teenager was presented the Keys to the City by Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson and a handwritten letter from Bert Hinkler, passed on by a relative of the aviation legend.

Pics: Barry Alsop / Eyes Wide Open Images / Sunshine Coast Council
Pics: Barry Alsop / Eyes Wide Open Images / Sunshine Coast Council

Ryan Campbell, the Australian who set the same world record and was the first teenager to achieve the massive feat when he completed Teen World Flight in 2013, was also on hand to congratulate Smart. Campbell had been a massive support network for Smart over the two months of the record bid.

Smart plans to debrief his flight and get some well-earned rest before announcing the next stage of his plans to inspire and help young people achieve more than they thought possible.

Teen attempting world record sets sight on Bundaberg via Hinkler route

When Sunshine Coast Teenager Lachlan Smart climbs aboard his Cirrus SR-22 to depart Darwin for Longreach on tomorrow, he will navigate along one of Australia’s most historic flight routes.

At 18-years of age Smart has made 21 stops around the world since departing the Sunshine Coast in July 4 in his attempt to break the record as the youngest person to fly around the world solo, in a single engine aircraft.

The 22nd leg of his world record attempt flight will see Smart fly from Darwin to Longreach and then onto Bundaberg on his 23rd leg, following the route of Australian aviation pioneer Herbert John Louis (Bert) Hinkler, who first flew solo from Great Britain to Australia in 1928.

Smart will land in Bundaberg on Thursday August 25 at 12.15pm AEST.

Hinkler, like Smart, made his journey in a single engine aircraft, his trip taking 15 and a half days by the time he landed in Darwin. Hinkler then made his way to his hometown of Bundaberg, via Longreach along the same course Smart will take in the coming days.

While time may have moved forward and technology advanced, there are distinct similarities between Smart and Hinkler’s respective journeys.

When Hinkler completed his trip he reduced the England to Australia record from 28 to 15 and a half days. Similarly Smart will slash the record of being the youngest person to fly around the world solo, in a single engine aircraft significantly.

American Matt Guthmiller set the previous mark in 2014 when he completed his world flight at the age of 19-years, 7 months and 15 days. When Smart lands on the Sunshine coast on August 27, he will be 18-years, 7 months and 21 days.

But that’s not where the similarities end. Smart’s motivation for this gigantic task of circumnavigating the globe isn’t just a record. He is out to prove that age is usually just a number, that shouldn’t limit aspiration.

Hinkler exemplified this same mentality that Smart is attempting to promote more than a century ago. As a young man he was fascinated with flight, and by 1911 and 1912 had built man-carrying gliders and flown them at Mon Repos Beach near Bundaberg.

His greatest achievement was his 1928 flight across the world, making good on the dream he had as a young man, when he was nothing more than an aspiring aviator.

Both Smart and Hinkler pursued goals from nothing more than an idea; a love of flying and a dream to show people what could be achieved.

Hinkler completed his goal, and now Smart is just days away from realising his.

Since his departure Smart has travelled to Fiji, Pago Pago, Kiribati, Hawaii, through five US states, Canada, The Azores, Great Britain, France, Greece, Egypt, Oman, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Broome and will depart from Darwin to Longreach tomorrow (Tuesday August 23) flying from Longreach to Bundaberg on Thursday August 25.

Smart will arrive in Bundaberg on Thursday August 25 at 12.15pm AEST.

He will be giving a presentation of his world record breaking flight at the Hinkler Hall of Aviation on Friday August 26 at 3.30pm.

For those hoping to see Smart, you are welcome to watch him landing in Bundaberg. However all opportunities to meet and speak with him will be at the Hinkler Hall of Aviation on Friday August 26.

Threads to impress, Sisley know best

In any gruelling venture, you need to be properly prepared and there are few things that are more unrelenting than long distance aviation, particularly in light aircraft. There is no room for mistakes, second chances are rare.

So, everything has to be right, and that includes what pilots wear.

In my case, I had to have a flight suit which was comfortable, warm but not stifling in potentially hot climates, also cool but not cold in cold climates. But it also had to be comfortable and have the design flexibility to provide what I needed.

The team at Sisley Clothing were a huge help to me in fulfilling these requirements for my suits, everything from the choice of fabric, the fitting to my body shape, the individual design features for badge identification purposes, pockets for specific items I may need in different circumstances and facilities to carry items I alone might need, like a personal locator beacon.

These all had to be designed into a piece of clothing which allowed free movement. Storage pockets in the suit also had to be situated in places which did not conflict with pieces of the aircraft cockpit.

Sisley Clothing were not only able to provide this individual product in a timely way, but were also able to help with specialist advice and support.

On the longer flights, from Hawaii to California, a 14-hour journey, the last thing needed was to be uncomfortable, in a single seat with little room to even stretch. There is no room to stand up and walk around, so comfort is paramount and I have to say that my flight suit was brilliant.

By no means was that journey comfortable, but that was because I was 14 hours sitting in one place. The comfort of the flight suit actually eased the discomfort!

So, a big thank you to all the team at Sisley Clothing, the knowledge, experience and dedication you put into your products shows and deserves to be recognised.

Broome the first stop for homeward bound Aussie teen on world record flight

Queensland teenager Lachlan Smart has visited 18 countries in the past 45 days, and he’s visited them all under his own steam on what is Guinness World Record breaking solo flight around the world.

Two and a half years ago a just turned 16-year-old Smart, who hails from a modest Australian family in the sleepy suburb of Nambour on the Sunshine Coast, was inspired to by fellow Aussie Ryan Campbell, who a handful of months earlier had become the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe solo, in a single engine aircraft.

Now 18, Smart is on the verge of achieving just that.

Three-years ago Campbell returned to Australia on September 7, 2013 as the youngest person to fly around the world at 19-years and 237 days old. Less than a year later American Matt Guthmiller again lowered the record, this time to 19-years, 7 months and 15 days.

Now Smart is set to take the record into new territory when he arrives back on the Sunshine Coast on August 27. He will lower the mark to 18-years, 7 months and 21 days, completing the trip when he is almost a full year younger than Guthmiller, in the process bringing the record back to Australia.

The motivation for taking on this gigantic task is for Smart to prove that age is usually just a number and shouldn’t limit aspiration. He created Wings Around the World from nothing but an idea; a love of flying and a dream to show people that anything can be achieved.

However before he returns to the sunshine state, the first stop back on Australian soil for the teenager will be Broome, Western Australia following an eight-hour flight from Jakarta, Indonesia.

It will be a welcome return to a familiar setting for the young man who in the past six weeks has hopped from country to country, working with different national aviation authorities on a daily basis.

So far he has visited Fiji, American Samoa, Kiribati, Hawaii, mainland USA, Canada, The Azores, Great Britain, France, Greece, Egypt, Oman, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and today will land in Indonesia prior to his Australian return.

From Broom Smart will travel east to Darwin, then Longreach, Bundaberg and finally the Sunshine Coast by August 27.

World record aside, the only other certainty is that his mother is the most excited person in the world to welcome home her son.

Wise words from Australia’s fastest pilot aid Smart in moments of doubt

In just 15 days teenager Lachlan Smart will land on the Sunshine Coast with the title of the youngest person to fly around the world solo, a feat made easier after advice from Australia’s Red Bull Air Race pilot Matt Hall.

Departing for his global Odyssey five and a half weeks ago Smart has come across plenty of challenges. He’s crossed the Pacific Ocean, altered his route to avoid poor weather systems in the Atlantic and knows there are more tough times to come as he crosses into the Middle East today, before navigating Asia on his quest to return home,

Ever the image of confidence and preparedness, 18-year-old Smart is wise beyond his years, but like the rest of us he has moments of doubt. However unlike many, those times are fleeting and he attributes his strong mental fortitude to advice from fellow pilot Hall.

“It’s natural to have doubts, but for me it is very much about addressing them and putting them behind me, rather than focusing on them,” a resolute Smart said.

“If you spend too long thinking about what could go wrong, you’re not spending enough time focusing on what could go right. That’s a tip Matt Hall gave me.

“Over the past two and a half years I have put in place safety plans and I am sticking to those, they are thorough and backed up.”

With his next leg scheduled to take the Sunny Coast teenager from Crete, Greece to Hurghada, Egypt before a hop into Oman and then Sri Lanka, he says his biggest challenges over the next few days will be communication.

“Crossing the oceanic regions around India and Sri Lanka will be hard, probably the biggest challenge on the horizon, especially with communication,” he said.

“The different accents will add a layer of difficulty, so I need to be sure that I understand each communication clearly and follow instruction to the best of my ability.”

“It will be hard, but I am confident that it is simply another small challenge that will need to be overcome.”

Since his departure Smart has made 15 stops, beginning in Fiji and the Pacific islands of Pago Pago and Kiribati before landing in Hawaii. From there it was a marathon crossing to the west coast of the USA, before flying north to Canada.

From Canada it was across the Atlantic Ocean to the Azores islands, onto the UK, then Europe and now is in Egypt.

There are a further eight destinations scheduled before Smart touches back down on the Sunshine Coast on Saturday, August 27.

Cooroy Outside School Hours send Lachie some questions

Last week a few students that attend Cooroy Outside School Hours Care contacted Lachie with a few questions about his trip, so he did his best to answer them for the kids!

Don’t forget that Lachie is also doing a LIVE Facebook Q&A Sunday night (31/7) at 8pm EST! 

LIVE FB

Why did you want to fly all around the world? – Zarah

Great question Zarah! As I grew up I found a passion for showing that young people can do anything, if you have a goal you need to go for it. So this is my way of showing young people that you CAN achieve your dreams!

Are you scared? – Indi

Not scared Indi, but definitely nervous at times. I am very confident in my skill as a pilot and that I have done all the planning I needed to. But there have been some very long flights, over a lot of water so far and I was a little nervous before those. But otherwise it has been a very fun adventure

What does it feel like being all alone? – Zarah

In the aeroplane I’m usually so busy that I don’t feel too lonely even when I am so far away! Sometimes when I’m on the ground I do feel a little lonely but then I remember all my friends and family are only a phone call away.

How long have you wanted to do this trip? – Mikayla

Three years ago in 2013 I saw a news story on a young Australian named Ryan Campbell who broke this record. Ever since that day, I knew I wanted to do this trip. Fortunately Ryan and I are now friends and he has been a supporter of mine during my preparation.

What food do you take on the plane with you? – Amber

Lots of little snacks Amber! It’s like having an endless morning tea break. I take some special muesli bars that are easy to store and give me enough energy to keep going. Sometimes the friends I make around the world give me some sandwiches. I don’t eat many lollies or chocolates, as they don’t give me enough sustained energy. There is also lots of water in the plane with me.

Have you seen any well-known monuments? – Riley  

So far I have seen a few Riley. While I was in America I flew over the Grand Canyon, Mississippi River and Niagara Falls. In a few days I will fly over the white cliffs of Dover too, which are in the United Kingdom.

Have you had to do any repairs? – Niko  

There have been a few repairs Niko, but fortunately they were all planned! My plane is like your mum or dad’s car and needs to be serviced by a mechanic from time to time. So I have planned service stops all around the world to make sure my plane is working the best it can be!

What kind of fuel do you put in your plane? – Niko

We use a special fuel called Avgas, which is made especially for planes like mine. It’s different to what the big passenger planes, which use jet fuel because they are powered by a different kind of engine to mine.

Is it fun going around the world? – Kyla

Kyla this trip has been so much fun! I have met lots of very nice people, been to some very cool countries and have been able to show people that dreams can really come true!

Do you get a sore backside sitting for so long? – Brooklyn  

Yes! Lucky for me, my dad helped me put some seat covers in my plane before I left, which makes it a little more comfortable!

Do you listen to music on the plane? What music do you like? – Boyd  

I do listen to music in the plane sometimes (when I’m not too busy doing other jobs!) and I have a bit of a unique taste in music. I love listening to jazz and the ‘Crooner’ type songs, like Michael Bublé.

How fast does your plane go? – Riley

For a little aeroplane with one engine it is actually quite quick! I usually sit around 160 knots, which is about 300km/h!

Where is your favourite place you’ve stopped at so far? – Riley

I stayed at a place called ‘The Hangar Hotel’ in Texas, which was very very cool. But nothing beats landing in the UK and having family waiting for you. That was very special.

I have a bear that wears pyjamas; it’s called ‘Pyjama Teddy’. Why did you call your bear Freddy? – Maddie

What a lucky Teddy, he gets to wear pyjamas all day! My bear is named Freddy because it rhymes with Teddy, and I think he looks a bit like a Freddy too!

Family aviation history awaits Smart at Biggin Hill, UK

A 72-year family connection with Biggin Hill Airport will come full circle today when 18-year-old Lachlan Smart touches down on the airstrip in Bromley.

Geographically half way through his quest to become the youngest person in history to fly around the world solo, in a single engine aircraft, Smart is on target to eclipse the current record set by American Matt Guthmiller in 2014 to the tune of 12 months.

It’s been an audacious flight so far for the teenager from the Australian middleclass, who spent two and a half years turning his aviation dream into a reality.

After flying over icons like the Grand Canyon, the Mississippi River and Niagara Falls, through island paradises’ including Fiji, Pago Pago and Santa Maria (where he will depart from today), Smart will today make his way to the United Kingdom.

Home turf on the Sunshine Coast aside, Biggin Hill carries the most significance for Smart on this journey. It’s the place where both his great-grandfathers flew out of during World War II; it’s where aviation in his family began.

When Smart puts his wheels on the deck today it will have been 72 years, 8 months, 2 days since his maternal great grandfather Ray Bavington was last recorded as departing from the airfield. While Bavington’s movements in and out of Bromley since that date haven’t yet been confirmed, it is known Bavington flew in the D-Day landings of WWII, taking part in a piece of history as a GA support pilot.

There is a sweet irony that while Bavington, as well as Smart’s paternal great grandfather Alan Dawkins, both flew in this airspace during a time of unrest, Smart will arrive in a time of peace to spread a message of youth achievement. It’s this message of age being no more than a number that shouldn’t limit aspiration that is the motivation for this young Aussie to take on such a gigantic task.

With an infectious sense of adventure, coupled with equal amounts of maturity, Smart has already become the youngest person ever fly over the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean’s solo during this trip, the latter occurring less than 48 hours ago when he landed in Santa Maria after the eleventh leg of his world flight.

There is little doubt surrounding Smart’s ability as a pilot, both during and in preparation for flight. His skill was exemplified prior to his crossing of the Pacific Ocean two weeks ago, when the 18-year-old delayed his flight from Hawaii to California due to easing, yet still concerning winds caused by Hurricane Blas.

So far Wings Around the World has seen Smart travel from the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia to Nadi, Fiji, Pago Pago in American Samoa, with an overnight stop in Kiribati, before flying to Hawaii. The next handful of legs of his flight saw him track north through the USA to Canada, before flying to Santa Maria.

Smart will have an 11-day stopover in the UK to have his aircraft serviced, spend time with family and explore his family’s aviation history. His world flight will resume on Saturday August 6 when he flies to Cannes, France.

July 20 to be known as ‘Wings Around the World Day’

A visit to Niagara Falls wasn’t all that was on the menu for Lachie in the past few days. On Wednesday, he attended a presentation at city hall, where he was presented with the keys to the city. Not only that, but Mayor Paul Dyster also named July 20, 2016 as Wings Around the World Day! 

You can read more about & view a video of the ceremony HERE

You can also read the full proclamation of Wings Around the World day below, with images of the key to the city, and official proclamation also below.


Office of the Mayor – City of Niagara Falls, New York


Proclamation 

WHEREAS,     it is important to recognize those who with vision and persistence attempt to accomplish record breaking feats, inspiring others to believe and fulfil dreams; and

WHEREAS,     18 yr. old Lachlan Smart, of Australia, founded the Wings Around the World organization, which is the platform for this venture of flying around the world solo, in a single engine aircraft; and

WHEREAS,     in June 2016, Lachlan Smart departed from the East coast of Australia and is planning to travel around the globe in the span of ten weeks to cover 24,000 nautical miles including 26 stops in 20 countries on five continents; and

WHEREAS,     Lachlan Smart is the youngest person in history to attempt to circumnavigate the earth in a single engine aircraft; and

WHEREAS,     the mission of Lachlan Smart and Wings Around the World is to send the message to people, especially the youth that setting goals and achieving dreams are possible, no matter how big or small, and that age, size and circumstance are not limiting factors, but can be worthwhile challenges to be met; and

WHEREAS,     Lachlan Smart will be stopping in Niagara Falls, NY on July 19th—21st, before he departs from Toronto, ON and continues his quest.

 

Now therefore be it resolved, that I, Paul Dyster, as Mayor of the City of Niagara Falls, NY do hereby recognize Lachlan Smart for his vision and courage as he circumnavigates our earth and inspires the youth and all ages to set goals and follow dreams. I proclaim July 20, 2016 as Wings Around the World Day, in the City of Niagara Falls, NY in honor of this brave young man, and encourage our youth to follow Lachlan’s progress and hold onto the hope and faith in order to cultivate our own new dreams.

 

GIVEN, under my hand and the seal of the City of Niagara Falls this 20th Day of July, 2016

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Official proclamation
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Key to the city
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The key & smaller replica key