Teenager sets solo around world flight record

Lachlan Smart was lucky to survive his world record feat. Photo / AP
Lachlan Smart was lucky to survive his world record feat. Photo / AP

Teenage aviator Lachlan Smart says he would have been scraped off the side of an Indonesian mountain had he obeyed local traffic controllers during his successful attempt to become the youngest person to fly solo around the world in a single-engine aircraft.

The Sunshine Coast 18-year-old said he ignored regional traffic controllers in Indonesia and chose his own route as he navigated the country because of misguided instructions.

He said poor radio reception and a "blase" attitude was also an issue passing through the South East Asian country

"There were no major failures of equipment ... but I did have trouble with air traffic control coming out of Indonesia," he said.

"They would have run me into a mountain if I had gone with their instructions. I stuck to my training pretty well and, when I saw what they were going to try and send me through, I thought, 'They'll be scraping me off the side of a mountain if I go that way'."

Smart secured the record of being the youngest person to fly solo around the world in a single-engine aircraft when he touched down on the Sunshine Coast at Maroochydore yesterday.

He departed the same airstrip on July 4.

Smart, who is 18 years, seven months and 21 days old, stopped in 24 locations and 15 countries on his way to taking the Guinness World Record from American Matt Guthmiller, who completed his circumnavigation when he was 19 years, 7 months and 15 days.

Guthmiller had sent Smart messages of encouragement during the flight.

Smart travelled more than 44,000km and included more than a week's break visiting family and sightseeing in London.

The Nambour resident hopes his achievement inspires other teenagers to think big and shoot for impossible dreams and he has even started a business, Young Achievers International, to help people to reach their goals.

"The whole reason I did this trip was to hopefully motivate other people to achieve great things as well," he said.

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