09:30AM, Thursday 19 December 2019
A Great Marlow School pupil is looking to break a world record by becoming the youngest person to fly around the world on his own.
Travis Ludlow, 16, will be departing from White Waltham airfield in the first week of June for his adventure – taking him on a journey across 13 countries, more than 23,000 miles and 45 stops.
He aims to complete the record-breaking journey within three months in his Piper PA-28 Warrior plane, rebuilt using the latest in safety features.
The existing record is held by American Mason Andrews, 18, who flew around the world in 75 days last year.
Travis, from Ibstone in Bucks, will be 17 when he takes off in the summer.
He will be supported during his journey by General Aviation Egypt, which will be in constant communication with the schoolboy, monitoring aspects such as the weather and fuel levels.
The route – which takes him over Europe, northern Africa, Russia and the USA – was helped by Russia’s recent decision to open its airspace to cross the whole of the country for private solo pilots.
Most around the world flights have previously required crossing the Pacific Ocean, involving two 15-plus hour flights over nothing but water.
Travis' route takes him north on the east coast of the USA, over Greenland and Iceland, before dropping down into the UK.
Travis is also hoping to use 80 per cent less carbon emissions during his flight with sustainable jet fuel.
He said: “I am really excited to fly over unpopulated areas of the world like parts of Siberia in Russia, Alaska and Canada.
“I expect the undisturbed natural wilderness will be beautiful from the air. Also, landing in so many places and meeting different people from different cultures will be amazing.”
Travis was the youngest glider pilot to fly solo in the UK – aged 14 in 2017.
He passed all of his PPL flying exams and went from gliding to learning to fly single engine aircraft, flying his first solo the day after his 16th birthday.
Dad Nick said: “He is a very determined young man.
“His dream has always been flying, all the [other] things he has done in the past have been dad saying: ‘let’s go and do this’, but flying, it has always been him.
“I have done a lot of research and spoken to lots of people, and I can honestly say that this is without doubt the safest anybody has flown around the world.
“My wife and I are nervous – when he takes off my heart is going to be in my throat – and the last leg over Greenland, I am going to be on my knees – but it is hard being wrapped in cotton wool.”
He added: “He is going to come back a man [with] a lot of experience, and a lot of doors will open too.
“He just does not quit, but he will pace himself to get it right.”
The journey has seen companies and individuals provide sponsorship, donations, equipment and training, and a few more are needed.
Visit aroundtheworldsolo.co.uk for more information on Travis’ challenge and to support him.
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