THE Bombala community has been closely watching the progress of Ryan Campbell as he continues his record attempt to become the youngest pilot ever to fly solo around the world.
With grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins all living in Bombala, Ryan has a dedicated band of followers tracing his flights and checking his progress online as he completes each leg of his mammoth journey.
And he’s blitzing it! Ryan had last week already reached the halfway point in terms of the days it will take to complete the trip, and has just hit the halfway mark in terms of distance as well.
This comes after taking on one of the most difficult sections of his round the world flight – the nine hour leg from Canada, across the North Atlantic to Reykjavik, Iceland.
This leg, known as “flying the pond”, is a journey that is classed as challenging and only for pilots who are well-prepared and knowledgeable.
The cold conditions present the largest hazard, and Ryan did pick up some ice on his aircraft during the flight, but safely made the crossing.
“Although I had seen icing before the trip to Reykjavik, I now consider myself experienced enough to never need to see it again,” he said on his blog after landing.
Prior to making this daunting flight, Ryan had to say goodbye to the numerous friends and relatives who joined him at Oshkosh, Wisconsin for its famed air show, including mum and dad, Joanne and Lindsay Campbell.
For everyone closely involved with Ryan’s attempt, Oshkosh was a must see, something that the world flight was almost planned around.
“If I was to ever set out on such a journey I would need to land at Oshkosh, it simply wouldn’t be right if I didn’t,” Ryan had said.
“It is hard to explain to someone what it means to be at Oshkosh let alone fly yourself in. It is something I will not forget.”
Oshkosh proved to be a great experience for Ryan, who did numerous interviews including on the live stage where he talked about his world record attempt.
He met up with the Channel Nine 60 Minutes crew and did some filming as well as teleconferences back to Australia to four schools.
And the Bombala High School was on that prestigious list! Following is the report that the Bombala High School Newsletter ran just after the teleconference with Ryan –
“For a brief moment in time Bombala was hooked up to the world when all students and staff spoke to 19 year old Ryan Campbell in the United States.
Ryan, who has five cousins at Bombala High School, is part way through an historic round-the-world flight. When completed Ryan will become the youngest solo pilot ever to make the trip.
Ryan left Wollongong on June 30 this year and has reached Wisconsin to attend AirVenture, the World’s largest air show.
Our assembly began with a video presentation which told the story of the preparation and inspiration for Ryan’s adventure. We were then treated to his five cousins taking turns to tell Ryan’s story in their own words.
Scott and Nikki Hepburn, Tanika and Mackenzie Hampshire and Blake Stevenson kept us enthralled as Ryan’s story unfolded. Finally we were shown a replay of a Channel 9 Today Show interview with Ryan.
To the amazement of all Ryan himself appeared, live, on the big screen in the Multi-Purpose Hall. After a round of applause, Ryan told us more about his journey and where he was up to.
Then a number of students asked Ryan some very challenging questions which he handled with great aplomb. We now know that LCM bars are popular in the air, as well as a number of other interesting facts.
A huge round of applause to thank Ryan was followed by the rest of the school departing the hall to give Ryan the opportunity to have a quick word with his cousins, as well as his Aunt, Raelene Stevenson, and his grandmother, Glad Hurley.
So congratulations to Ryan and we thank him for making the time to contact us.”
We’ll have more on Ryan’s journey as it continues, and readers can follow his progress at www.teenworldflight.com