Nfld. & Labrador

Teen pilot aims for round-the-world record

An Australian teenager hoping to earn a place in the aviation record books stops in Labrador, midway on his mission to fly solo around the world.

Landing in Labrador, Australian aviator Ryan Campbell is midway through journey

Flying for the record

9 years ago
Duration 2:27
Australian teen Ryan Campbell is flying around the world, reports Kate Adach

An Australian teenager hoping to earn a place in the aviation record books stopped in Labrador Thursday, midway through his mission to fly solo around the world.

Ryan Campbell, 19, set out from Australia on June 30, just a day after 21-year-old Californian Jack Wiegand became the youngest person to fly solo around the world.

"It's a crazy, out-there dream that I didn't think was achievable and for a whole number of reasons," Campbell told CBC News on the airstrip at Happy Valley-Goose Bay, where he stopped for a layover.

The stop was not a complete rest from flying. As soon as he landed, he boarded another plane for a low-flying tour over Labrador's vast wilderness.

"I live and breathe aviation," he said.

"I could spend all day in an airplane if I could [so] the experience to go fly in a float plane in Canada was fantastic and was something that, for an Aussie, was a very out-there thing to do."

'I live and breathe aviation. I could spend all day in an airplane.'—Ryan Campbell

Campbell is piloting a single-engine Cirrus SR22 that is not much taller than he is.

He often spends all day in the plane, with his longest stretch so far reaching 15 hours.

He is alone, apart from the company of clouds, his iPod and a GoPro camera he's using to chronicle his mission.

He admits to rocking out a bit in the cockpit, but otherwise stays calm, collected and focused.

"We still have a long way to go," said Campbell, who expects to clock about 200 hours of flying time before he finishes.

"We've had a few little hiccups we've worked through with the aircraft and maintenance and stuff like that, so there is a long way to go — it's as simple as that. So I don't think we'll get too excited yet. The excitement will hit when I'm in Australia."

On Friday, Campbell set out from Labrador to cross the Atlantic, with his next stop in Iceland.