Qld teen to attempt aviation world record

Melissa Grant
AAP

When Sunshine Coast teenager Lachlan Smart first set his sights on becoming the youngest person to fly solo around the world his parents thought he was a bit crazy.

Perhaps that's because the record-breaking attempt in June will involve flying 45,000km across 20 countries in five continents in a single-engine plane.

But it was actually the 18-year-old's mum and dad who put him on the path to the voyage dubbed "Wings Around the World".

"When I was two years old mum and I would go and sit at the back of Maroochydore airport and watch the planes take off," Lachlan told AAP.

"Mum did it to pass time, but little did she know it would end up giving me the aviation bug."

Lachlan's aviation dreams really started to take off when his father bought him a private flying lesson as a 14th birthday present.

He was hooked.

Three years later, after many more flying lessons, he got his pilot's licence.

Lachlan had also seen "Flyin' Ryan" Campbell, who is now recovering from a Tiger Moth crash, on 60 Minutes talking about how he became the youngest pilot to circumnavigate the globe in 2013.

"I said to mum `I'm going to fly around the world'," he recalled. "When I first told (parents Will and Vanessa) they thought I was a bit crazy.

"Then after a month they saw I had put a lot of effort into it. They are an integral part of the team now."

Lachlan acknowledges Mr Campbell's crash late last year, which claimed the life of his passenger, highlighted the risks of flying but said he was feeling good about his own record attempt.

"I wouldn't say I'm scared or nervous about it ... although there's always going to be risks being so many kilometres above the earth," he said.

American Matt Guthmiller holds the world record as the youngest person to fly solo around the world at 19 years, seven months and 15 days - just 10 days younger than Mr Campbell, who is among Lachlan's support team.

Lachlan will be 18 years and seven months should he successfully complete his circumnavigation.

Fittingly, he will begin the journey from the same airport where he watched the planes take off as a toddler.

He hopes the world record attempt will inspire other youth but his own lofty ambition doesn't come cheap at a cost of $400,000.

Lachlan is hoping to raise funds from community events, beginning with a Fly-In/Drive-In event at Kilcoy's Archer Falls Airfield this weekend.

Beyond flying around the world, Lachlan has "further crazy dreams" including getting into the privatised and emerging space industry.


  • For more details on Lachlan's record breaking attempt and fundraising events visit www.wingsaroundtheworld.com.au/