Lachlan Smart‘s world record at 18 is being celebrated in Australia. Saturday, when Mr. Smart landed his single-engine aircraft, a Cirrus SR22, at Sunshine Coast Airport at Marcoola – history was made.
At the age of 18 years, seven months and 21 days, Smart became the youngest person to complete a solo circumnavigation of the world in a single-engine aircraft. The world record was previously held by Matt Guthmiller, who accomplished that amazing feat at 19.
Guthmiller, an American, became the youngest pilot ever to circumnavigate the globe in 2014. Alone in his Cirrus SR22, it took the teenager 54 days and 45,000-kilometres to complete the trip.
Smart stopped in 24 locations in 15 countries including Fiji, American Samoa, Kiribati, Hawaii, Canada, The Azores, Greece, Egypt, Oman, Sri Lanka and Malaysia, during his seven-week journey. He got the opportunity to meet family members in England and attend a party in France.
The teen, who was greeted at the airport by a large crowd of supporters, family, and friends said it was a marvelous journey, and added:
“I’m just on a high at the moment. That was so amazing to finally be back here in my hometown, the Sunshine Coast, and landing on the runway that I did my initial flight training on was just really special.”
The teen aviator went on to reveal:
“When I came in over the runway, I didn’t expect to see so many people. And looking at everyone there, it’s great. I’m so honored to have the support of the community around me, it’s just phenomenal.”
It was an incredible voyage, but all did not go as planned. Bad weather and miscommunication with foreign air traffic controllers created some challenges for him. He shared:
“Major challenges during the journey included weather and dealing with overseas traffic control. In the Pacific, I had some pretty horrendous weather.”
Speaking to the media, he explained that at one point he “ignored regional traffic controllers in Indonesia and chose my own route because of misguided instructions. They would have run me into a mountain if I had gone with their instructions.” He also stated:
“It’s very special and a lot of hard work has gone into getting to this stage.”
He concluded his interview by offering some words of advice for anyone thinking about taking on a big challenge. The young man revealed:
“Don’t be afraid to dream big and when you have a goal go for it.”
He told reporters he was eager to go home and sleep in his bed.