Flying teen urges others to chase dreams

(Australian Associated Press)

 

A Queensland teenager who became the youngest person to fly solo around the world is using his achievement to inspire others to pursue their dreams.

Lachie Smart was inducted into the Guinness World Records history books on Tuesday, more than a year after his epic flight.

It took the then 18-year-old took 54 days to complete his challenge, visiting 15 countries along the way.

He said his decision to take on the dangerous journey stemmed from his love of flying and a desire to show other young people they could do whatever they set their mind to if they were “willing to work hard enough”.

“I want to motivate and inspire people to get out and do their own challenges,” he told AAP on Wednesday.

He took off and landed from his local runway on the Sunshine Coast and is now giving motivational speeches “to encourage young people to do hard things, to take the bull by the horns”.

He said there was “nothing special” about him or his upbringing that made it easy for him to circumnavigate the globe in a plane.

His parents divorced when he was young, meaning he didn’t have a lot of money to fund the $380,000 trip.

It took two-and-a-half years to fundraise and secure enough corporate sponsorship to make the challenge a reality.

“A lot of people have died trying to fly around the world so it was quite a dangerous task to take on.”

On the day he returned home safely he was 18 years, seven months and 21 days old.

The previous record holder was American Matt Guthmiller who was 19 years, seven months and 15 days.

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