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.