Aussie teen flier stops off on his epic round-the-world flight
PUBLISHED: 16:37 28 July 2016 | UPDATED: 16:37 28 July 2016
The youngster's great-grandfather used Biggin Hill airport during the war
An Australian teenager has touched down at Biggin Hill Airport on the latest leg of his epic journey around the world – and said it is ‘very special’ to be here.
Eighteen-year-old Lachlan Smart is aiming to become the youngest person in history to fly around the world solo in a single-engine aircraft.
The high-flier is particularly pleased to be at Biggin Hill because of his family’s links to the area.
“In World War Two my great-grandfather stopped here in a Spitfire, so it is very special,” he said.
Hailing from Australia’s Sunshine Coast, Lachlan has aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins living to the south-west of London.
“I have been to the UK twice before, but this is my longest stop,” he explained.
“I have got ten days; I will be getting some major servicing done at the airport and spending some time with my family.”
Lachlan’s arrival at Biggin Hill marks the halfway point on his trip around the world, which he hopes will inspire other youngsters to realise their dreams.
“The main reason I’m doing this isn’t because I like the idea of a world record,” he said.
“The main reason is because I wanted to send a message to the younger generation about setting and realising goals.
“I noticed my peers saying ‘if only we could do this in the future’. We are missing motivation and I wanted to motivate people to achieve their dreams.”
He has already visited Fiji, American Samoa, Hawaii and California on his 70-day trek.
“Coming from American Samoa to Christmas Island there were some huge storms and I had some problems getting everything working properly, but I did get through it,” he said.
“It doesn’t feel as amazing when you are nine hours into a 14-hour journey, but I don’t get lonely in the aeroplane – I am usually too busy making sure everything is running smoothly.”
Lachlan considers aviation to be part of his heritage, and he first set foot in a cockpit at the age of 14 as a birthday gift from his father.
“I am just an average, normal teenager and I planned out this trip over two and a half years,” he said.
“It was just my dream – and if I can do it, imagine what a whole generation could do.”