One Teenager. One Engine. Endless Opportunities.

‘Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…’ Colossians 3:23 NIV

Visibility is zero inside this dense body of rain clouds as the four-seater plane tracks away from Sunshine Coast Airport and over coastal waters. Pockets of air within the grey mass toss the plane unpredictably, as if the Cirrus SR22 plane is being shaken like dice inside a giant fist. But the fresh-faced, blue-eyed young man in the cockpit has absolute faith in the technology that powers his plane through this brief moment of turbulence and into clear air. He has faith in a higher purpose, too, and it has driven him to attempt to achieve something remarkable.

Lachlan Smart, 18, left home behind and decided to strike out on his own on a journey that circumnavigated the planet and claimed a world record.

His journey began while watching Sunday night television. In 2013, Lachlan and his mother, were watching 60 Minutes at home in Nambour, QLD. The programme profiled Ryan Campbell, a 19-year old pilot from the NSW Coast, who had recently become the youngest person to circle the globe, solo and unassisted. As the segment ended, Lachlan turned to his mother and said: ‘Mum, I’m going to fly around the world on my own.’

The seed was planted, and over three years it grew into a campaign named Wings Around The World, an impressive support network of friends, family, sponsors and financial supporters, with a broader goal to inspire young people to exceed their
own horizons.

At his farewell dinner, his mum recalled, ‘One day I was having a moment, thinking about what Lachie’s going to do – this whole world trip thing—and I remember saying that God had big plans for him. It was a lightbulb moment. Surely, this is the beginning of that big plan. God’s got it under control. I thanked God for that little reminder, and just handed it all over to him.

I just pray that this trip is everything you’ve imagined it to be, and that in the times you feel alone, you realise that Jesus is in the cockpit beside you.’

In an interview with Robbo, on Vision Christian Radio, Lachlan recalled
his experience.

‘It was just excellent when I finally did touchdown because it was the conclusion to three years of planning as well as the actual flight itself. I was filled with adrenaline and excitement and nerves as to what comes next. But overall I was just very happy.
The last week before I got back to Australia, pretty much from Egypt onwards, I had troubles on just about every flight. Air traffic control, payment issues, weather. The last week and a half were the most challenging, but I was very happy when I reached ‘position Saptha’, which is the boundary between Jakarta and Australian airspace.

Before that, the air traffic controllers in Indonesia tried to send me into the side of a mountain. They were not used to dealing with small airplanes but with jets that fly much higher.

In Sri Lanka I was nearly detained because they had issues over the receipts for the payment method they requested. But all things were worked through and eventually I managed to get out of the situation and on my way.

Now I’m back home my plan is to keep the message of Wings Around the World going. I want to get out and encourage other young people to set and achieve their own amazing goals. There are so many things we can do—today is an age of endless opportunities.

Being a Guinness world record holder has been a stepping stone to the future.

The flight around the globe had a very positive response—it’s been really excellent actually. A lot of people have said they found the trip encouraging which is really good because that was the whole aim in the first place.

It has given me a lot of satisfaction to know I am achieving not only my goal to fly around the world but my goal to motivate others as well.’

DREAM BIG WITH GOD!

About the author

Lachlan Smart

Eighteen year old Lachlan reflects on his achievement as the youngest person in history to fly a single engine aircraft solo around the world.

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