One plane, 30,000 miles
Traveling around the world is a dream for many people, but for 18-year-old Australian Lachie Smart, he made that dream a reality.
The teenager from down under is nearly halfway done with his 30,000 mile flight around the world, which began in Sunshine Coast, Australia.
Taking off on Monday, July 4, and heading east, Smart has since made it to London. On his way, he decided to take an overnight stop in Fredericksburg.
“I really wanted to come to Fredericksburg because of the Hangar Hotel,” Smart said. “Ever since I heard about it and saw pictures, I wanted to visit.”
The young pilot landed in the Lone Star State on Saturday, July 16 and left the following morning to head for Nashville.
Smart has been flying since he was 14. He said he got the idea to fly around the world nearly a year after his first flight.
“Since I was 15, it was a dream of mine,” Smart said. “I thought I want to make a difference, I want to do something inspirational and get other young people out there and going for their dreams, as well. So I thought ‘What could I do that was hard?’ And I decided flying around the world was it.”
Smart has had his pilot’s license since he was 17, and he began his trip with around 260 hours of flight experience (the trip will add 165 hours).
Unlike the popular Jules Verne book, Smart plans to travel the world in less than 80 days, all while visiting 15 countries.
The total length of the trip, which is approximately one-eighth the distance to the moon, Smart plans to complete by the end of August. He will have a total of 24 stops on his crisscross path around the globe.
“The route isn’t exactly straight,” Smart said. “I’ll be doing a lot of zig-zagging.”
He planned for the trip by doing two practice runs, one of which was around half of Australia.
The longest leg of his trip, the marathon leg, was a 2,900 mile journey from Hawaii to California which took him 14 hours.
“It’s was like sitting in a car for 14 hours without getting to stand up,” he said.
At his lowest point, Smart will be at sea level, and at the highest point, he’ll cruise just above 10,000 feet while going over Saudi Arabia.
After crossing over the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, Smart became the youngest person in history to fly over those bodies of water. Once his journey ends, he will be the youngest person to travel the world (two years ago, Matt Guthmiller broke the record at age 19).
“I don’t really even like to think about the records during my trip,” Smart said. “I just want to enjoy my flight and stay safe.”
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