Teen pilot’s record-breaking flight

By Jacqueline Outred 9 August 2013
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Around the world in 70 days – Australian teenager takes to the skies in a world-record attempt.

Around the world in 70 days – an Australian teenager is taking to the skies in a world-record attempt.

AT THE AGE OF 19, most Australian teenagers are contemplating whether to undertake study, get a job, or go backpacking around Europe.

But for Ryan Campbell, the teenager from Cooma, a small town in New South Wales, the decision was already made. Pilot’s licence in hand, the ambitious young man was preparing to become the youngest person to circumnavigate the world alone by plane.

After taking off in Sydney on 30 June 2013, Ryan has already made it to Newfoundland and Labrador on the east coast of Canada. From here, he’ll be continuing towards Europe.

If he’s successful, Ryan will touch down his 2009 CR22 Cirrus aircraft in Wollongong on 7 September 2013, completing his round-the-world journey just four months before his 20th birthday.

Proudly supported by the Australian Geographic Society, Ryan’s world record attempt, named Teen World Flight, will see him cover more than 24,000 nautical miles (44,448 kilometres) in just 70 days in a single engine plane.

Youngest person to fly around the world

In preparation for the journey, Ryan completed his first solo flight at the age of 15, and by 18 he’d obtained his commercial pilot’s licence.

His aim is to not only become the youngest pilot and first teenager to fly solo around the world, but to reconnect the youth of Australia with the possibility of learning to fly.

He is also raising funds and awareness for the Dare 2 Dream scholarship fund, set up in conjunction with World Youth International, which will provide 10 different scholarships to young Australians who wish to volunteer overseas.

Mentors such as fellow aero-circumnavigator Ken Evers, and Australian Geographic founder and aviator Dick Smith, have lent their knowledge to the operation, providing Ryan with solid advice that comes from first-hand experience in undertakings on a similar scale.

The current world record is held by 21-year-old American pilot Jack Wiegand who completed his trip on 29 June 2013, just one day before Ryan set off on his own circumnavigation of the world.

Follow Ryan’s blog for regular updates.