05:56PM, Wednesday 14 July 2021
An 18-year-old pilot who has just finished his A-Levels at a Marlow school has completed a world record solo flight around the world.
Travis Ludlow, from Ibstone in Bucks, landed in the Netherlands on Monday to complete his mammoth journey, which saw him travel on average 850 miles per day.
The Great Marlow School student kept in touch with safety teams during his entire journey – which began on May 27 – and had regular stops in different countries to refuel and rest.
His efforts have ensured he enters the history books as he broke the world record aged 18 years and 150 days old – 13 days younger than the previous record-holder, American Mason Andrews.
Dad Nick, who helped plan Travis’ journey and was also in communication with his son during the majority of it, added that he also completed his travels in nearly half the time of his colleague in the US.
After landing he was presented with a certificate from the Guinness Book of World Records, before taking a well-earned rest.
Due to COVID and weather-related influences, Travis had to change his route almost every day, which saw him travel eastwards across the world.
“There were times when Travis would be taking off in the morning and asking me where he was going next,” Nick said.
“It was literally that short notice. I do not think it has really sunk in yet. Monday was just so crazy. We’re very proud of him.
“One of the reasons he was able to do this was because he takes everything in his stride; if he went to university tomorrow, he probably would not even mention it.
“It has been three years of hard work and I am exhausted. I didn’t expect it to be so tiring supporting him all the way through.”
Travis was the youngest glider pilot to fly solo in the UK – aged 14 in 2017. He passed all of his flying exams and went from gliding to learning to fly single engine aircraft, flying his first solo the day after his 16th birthday.
“When he started doing these things and was successful at them, I started seeing if I could piece these things together,” Nick added.
“I said: ‘right, let’s give this a go, but don’t believe it is going to happen’. We just persevered and we have had some serious obstacles.”One of these occurred over a desolate part of Russia, when Travis lost communication briefly with the air traffic control tower.
His communication with Nick continued though as they were talking over a phone which carries signal anywhere in the world, with Travis also keeping people up-to-date on his journey via an online tracker and regular social media updates from various airports.
Travis said following his journey: “It’s been a long road in getting this world record flight off the ground and now great to have completed the journey. A huge thank you for the amazing support I have had along the way.”
Visit www.aroundtheworldsolo.co.uk for more information on Travis’ journey.