Record-breaking teen back in Australia

By Fiona MacDonald 2 September 2013
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AG Society-sponsored Ryan Campbell is set to become the youngest person to fly solo around the world.

ON 7 SEPTEMBER 2013, teenager Ryan Campbell is due to touch down in Wollongong, NSW, and break the world record for being the youngest person to fly around the world solo.

The 19-year-old pilot crossed back over the Australian coastline and landed in Broome on Sunday for the final week of his 32-stop, 15-country journey.

Dubbed the Teen World Flight, Ryan’s mission has been sponsored by the Australian Geographic Society.

Although he’s on schedule to land at the Illawarra Regional Airport in Wollongong on time, the last few weeks have been filled with delays and route changes after Ryan had to bypass a stopover in Egypt due to political instability.

“In the end it shows that with all the planning we’ve put in over the last two years, things can still go wrong,” said Campbell in his blog.

Campbell took off from Wollongong on 30 June 2013. After almost 200 hours of flying time in his small plane Spirit of the Sapphire Coast, Ryan is looking forward to getting home and securing the world record.

“When I came across the coast and was over Australia again I had this overwhelming feeling of satisfaction and contentment,” he said.

“I can smell my final destination of Wollongong, but I know I have to continue to concentrate and stay on top of my game.”

Youngest person to circumnavigate the globe solo

From Broome, Ryan will head to Alice Springs and Broken Hill before the final leg takes him to Wollongong at around 10am on Saturday morning. He’ll be greeted by the RAAF Roulettes and crowds of well wishers, family, friends and media.

When he lands, he’ll break the world record for the youngest pilot to circumnavigate the globe solo in a single engine aircraft. The record is currently held by 21-year-old American Jack Weigand.

As well as hoping to inspire young Australians to reconnect with aviation, Ryan is 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.