Travis Ludlow is a 16 year old schoolboy who has been flying since he was 13 and is now well on the way to completing his PPL course. His dream, since the age of 10, is to become the youngest pilot to fly around the world at 17. He has never let go of that dream.
Circumnavigating the Earth is not an easy task and requires extensive preparation, planning and training.
What is considered global circumnavigation?
Crossing all meridians is not considered global circumnavigation. If you walk completely around either Pole, you have crossed all meridians, but this is not generally considered a circumnavigation.
What are requirements for circumnavigation by airplane?
The UK has a long list of world aviation records with many British pilots achieving word firsts in long distance flight, including;
Since the first solo flight in 1929, there have been only 77 people in the whole of aviation history to fly around the world in a single-engined aircraft. Surprisingly only six of those have been British pilots.
Currently, the youngest British pilot to fly around the world was the amazing Judith Chisholm who, at 33, broke 28 world speed records in her solo round-the-world flight.
Of the 7.4 billion people on Earth, 4000 people have climbed Mount Everest and 500 people have been in Space. Of the 77 pilots that have flown around the world solo in a single-engined aircraft, only 4 of them have been under the age of 20.
Incredibly, the first solo flight around the world was made by a 21 year old German noble, Baron F.K. Koenig-Warthausen. Who with only a few hours flying experience, he flew from Berlin to Moscow and just continued around the world.
A new Guinness World Record has been set by 18 year old American, Mason Andrews. He set off from Monroe, Luisiana on July 22nd 2018 to fly around the world. his journey took 75 days, and took him in to the Guinness World Records as the youngest pilot to fly around the world at 18 years and 163 days old. Beating the previous record holder, the 18-year-old Lachlan Smart, from Queensland Australia, by 71 days.
Travis has now had his record attempt officially recognised and plans to beat the current world record by at least 166 days, at the age of 17.
If ever the quote “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” was ever more pertinent, it is now. It is very difficult to be believed when someone, so young, is preparing to be the youngest to do something amazing.
Due to age limits for young pilots, Travis first task has really been about preparing to train. Travis started flying gliders at 13 but once he had flown solo at 14, he had a year before he could really start properly training for his Private Pilots Licence (PPL).
Travis is now well ahead in his PPL training and flew his first solo the day after his 16th birthday. He is now well on track to complete his PPL course by the end of this summer.
Next year will be a busy flying year but again he will be limited because of his age, the real hard work and constant training will start early in 2020, when he is 17.
Full details of what Travis has done, and his training schedule can be found here:
Winston Churchill said “Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.” He is right as there is nothing worse after a long flight than to have to unroll maps in the poor light of a hotel room and prepare for the flight the next day. Travis will needs his rest, so flight plans, and alternative plans, will need to be prepared well in advance. A large envelope with all the flight plans, logging sheets, maps, plates, customs declarations, etc., for each leg will be prepared.
Travis will have a ‘General Declaration’ document (GenDoc) which will fill the role of the crew manifest, passengers manifest, cargo manifest and heath declaration. To make life easier Travis will be met by a handling agent at every airport to help him get clearance in each country.
The same meticulous planning will be used for the route plan. Travis's final route is still to be decided as we do not know how the world is going to change over the next two years.
More information on his route can be found here:
This world record-breaking mission will not be possible without individuals and organisations that wish to be involved in this journey. To make this happen we are looking for any help in all sorts of capacities.
To make this epic journey, Travis needs to raise £300,000. This will allow Travis to get the extra training he needs as well as the special equipment that will allow him to complete the mission safely.
Travis is also looking for experienced pilots with their own aircraft, who have the time to share their experience with him and help give him some flight time. Travis is aiming to gain more than 500 hours of flight time before he takes off.
All additional proceeds, over flight expenses will go to two important charities.
There are many different benefits for all types of sponsors. More information on sponsorship and our chosen charities can be found here:
Life's Little Instructions
Travis has already achieved flying success when he became the youngest person, in the UK, to fly a glider solo on his 14th birthday. Even then, on that cold morning in February 2016, he was thinking of the real dream... to fly around the world at 17.
Every kid has a passion for something, for some it’s tanks, trains or tractors, then later it’s computer games, racing cars or football (or all three); for Travis, it was always aeroplanes.
Travis’s love of flying started when he was 4 years old, never going to sleep without reading something from his stack of airplane magazines by his bed. Since then he has watched every program on TV and YouTube to do with flying and can tell you, in detail, the cause of every accident on every episode of ‘Air Crash Investigators’… seriously, if you ever meet him, ask him.
So, he started flying at 13 and has been described by his instructors as a natural pilot. Travis is currently taking his Private Pilots Licence (PPL) with West London Aero Club in Buckinghamshire. He flew solo the day after his 16th birthday and is now on the last phase of the PPL syllabus. The WLAC are confident that Travis will have all the training he needs in time for his around the world flight.
You might think; "why Travis, he is only just 16, how do we know he will really do it"? Well we don’t know, not 100% sure at least but Travis has a history of achieving what he sets out to do and is more serious about this around the world flight than anything he has done before.
Although he is not taking the task ahead lightly, he is doing everything he can to put the pieces together so that if all goes well he will ready to do it.
Travis has already passed all of the nine PPL written exams and is expected to pass he PPL before the end of the summer. But it is not just his commitment to flying, and his early success in gliding, that shows that he is a very dedicated young man, who sets out to achieve whatever he starts.
He started kickboxing at the age of 5 and received his black belt 7 years later, his continued dedication saw him go on to win 5 British Kickboxing Championships, over the next two years, with 4 different governing bodies. He was due to go to the World Championships in 2019 but he chose to concentrate on his flying and his plans for this world record flight.
A fun example, was when his dad bought him an old unicycle off eBay and he taught himself to ride it in three days, then went on to do the Henley Triathlon on it six month later; the first time they had seen a unicycle at the triathlon.
Although Travis' record attempt has now been officially recognised by the Guinness World Records, it is clear that Travis still has a long way to go to achieve this dream. For sure, he will continue to learn until the day he takes off and there is no doubt, he has the right attitude, dedication and commitment to the task ahead.
Travis will fly a Piper PA-28 Warrior that first took to the skies 34 years before Travis was born... so his plane will be twice his age.
Sounds daunting? Well it isn't. This is not just any old Piper Warrior, this is a Reborn Piper Warrior. This aircraft has been completely dismantled, every part cleaned, inspected and taken down to the bare metal. It will be rebuilt using the very latest in avionics and safety features, in fact there will be over sixty separate upgrades, including a new engine, a new propeller, glass cockpit and avionics including terrain and traffic awareness, aerodynamic fairings and LED lighting.
There are plenty of good reasons for choosing this aircraft but none more so than the familiarity - Travis has flown most of his hours hours in similar. Now he will get the chance to fly one that is almost like new and even better, he will get the chance to help rebuild it. Travis will spend his free time working with the team at Reborn to get the aircraft ready for this extraordinary voyage.
a PA-28 than any other aircraft but the main reason is in the rebuilding we have the total knowledge that this aircraft will be as good as new, if not better. Travis is spending a lot of his free time helping with the rebuilding of the aircraft and will continue to work weekends, even when he is back at school. The dirt under his finger nails has helped build a growing bond between Travis and his aircraft, something that will help when flying long distances 'solo'.
The Reborn aircraft brings together components from across Europe and the Americas. The rebuild is expected to take 5 months, with the delivery planned for Travis' 17th birthday, three and a half months before he take-off on his around the world flight.
As well as a new interior and bespoke sponsored paint scheme this plane will be registered in the Channel Islands and will have the registration 2-SOLO... which says it all.
Travis' Airplane is being remanufactured by Thruxton-based Reborn Aviation who are the only British company specialising in rebuilding Piper aircraft.
A venture like this is nothing without the people who are working behind the scenes. While Travis may have big dreams, ultimately it is only with the help of a great team, that he will realise his goals.
We have chosen General Aviation Egypt to support Travis on his around the world flight. G.A.S.E. is a relatively new company, founded in 2010 by Eddie Gould and Hassan Aly, but it has an enviable reputation for providing a first class flight support services for long distance flights and around the world pilots.
Eddie and Ahmed supply and coordinate everything from Permit and overflight clearance approval to handling and fuel arrangements as well as their wonderful G.A.S.E. hospitality in some of the remotest places in the world.
But it is the attention to detail and safety procedures that really convinced us that this was the company to look after Travis during his around the world flight. G.A.S.E. will be in continuous communication with Travis during his flights, whatever time zone he is in, in the world. They will monitor weather and plan alternative flight routes in case of emergencies.
G.A.S.E. have successfully helped a number of record braking around the world flights, including the current youngest pilot to fly around the world, Mason Andrews. In total, Eddie and Hassan have supported 19 around the world flights and were behind Norman Surplus and his recent flight around the world in a Gyrocopter. Their contacts, meticulous planning and due care and attention makes them a perfect support team for Travis's around the world flight.
Having the right team is as important as having the right plane. G.A.S.E. form a major part of Travis' support team and are crucial to the success of his world record challenge.
A personal video message is 'COMING SOON', in the meantime here is a fun gliding video he edited after his solo flight in 2016
Douglas H. Everett
While Travis is busy working on full-filling his own dream, he is also passionate about helping others too. He would like to work with two charities that help motivate kids and other young people. All additional proceeds, over flight expenses, will go to these two chosen charities.
fly2help uses the inspirational experience of flight to:
We are looking for a charity who is interested in becoming a charity partner. It is important that the right partnership is a mutually beneficial arrangement.
Please contact us if you are interested in becoming a charity partner.
"We would love to hear from you"
Langston Hughes - American poet, social activist 1901-1967