Bert Hinkler's path: teenage record breaker to land in Bundaberg
WHEN Lachlan Smart was two years old his mother would take him to the airport to watch the planes take off.
16 years later, Lachlan is up above the clouds himself, attempting to break the record as the youngest person to fly around the world solo in a single engine aircraft - and he is set to land in Bundaberg on Thursday, following in the path of our own legend Bert Hinkler.
"It's been phenomenal to experience and certainly boosted my experience as a pilot,” Lachlan said.
"The thing I love most in aviation is you never stop learning. You can never know everything about flying and that really excites me.”
With muesli bars to keep him going and a heater to help him through temperatures around 19 degrees lower than on the ground, Lachlan has been spending 7-8 hours each day on average in the cockpit of his Cirrus SR-22.
"Some days have been as long as 13 to 14 hours, and as short as 2 and a half hours, depending on the ground I need to cover and the conditions,” he said.
"Crossing the Pacific there were some pretty bad storm cells between America, Samoa, Christmas Island and over Greece as well - and it was very hot over the Middle East.”
Since his departure from the Sunshine Coast 7 months ago, he has travelled to Fiji, Pago Pago, Kiribati, Hawaii, through five US states, Canada, The Azores, Great Britain, France, Greece, Egypt, Oman, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Broome.
Today he departs Darwin for Longreach along one of Australia's most historic flight routes.
"I love Bert Hinkler's story and his dedication to flying, the things he did to get where he did,” Lachlan said.
"I'm looking forward to following the rest of his journey from Darwin down to Bundaberg, which he flew in 1928.”
Hinkler, another young man fascinated by flight, famously built man-carrying gliders and flew them at Mon Repos Beach.
When he completed his trip he reduced the England to Australia record from 28 to 15 and a half days.
If Lachlan succeeds, he will slash his record significantly.
American Matt Guthmiller set the previous mark for youngest solo flight in a single engine aircraft in 2014 at the age of 19 years, 7 months and 15 days. When Lachlan lands on the Sunshine coast on August 27, he will be 18 years, 7 months and 21 days.
Lachlan Smart will land in Bundaberg this Thursday at 12.15pm, and will give a presentation on his record-breaking flight at the Hinkler Hall of Aviation at 3.30pm on Friday.