British teen in solo round-the-world record bid stops in Punta Gorda

Reporter: Erika Jackson
Published: Updated:
Travis Ludlow attempts to break the world record to become the youngest pilot to fly around the world in a single-engine plane. (Credit: Travis Ludlow)

An 18-year-old man from Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom, is on a journey to become the youngest solo pilot to fly around the world in a single-engine plane.

The current titleholder, Mason Andrews from Louisiana, was also 18 when he completed the trek in 2018.

WINK News caught up with the pilot, Travis Ludlow, when he stopped to refuel in Punta Gorda on Monday.

We asked what this accomplishment means to him after taking off from Wycombe Air Park – flying from Poland to Russia to the U.S.

“I’m trying to become to, well, break the world record and become the youngest person to fly solo around the world in a single-engine aircraft,” Ludlow explained.

He’s 18 years and 135 days old to be exact, and he plans to finish his trip next Wednesday.

If all goes to plan, he’ll be 19 days younger than the current titleholder.

“I was planning to beat the world record last year and smash the record by a year. I would have been 17 when I did it, but unfortunately, coronavirus happened.”

When asked how the pandemic impacted his journey, it wasn’t necessarily bad. “The delays actually helped me out a lot because it allowed me to get a lot more experience in the plane.”

Now, he’s dealing with other obstacles.

Mother Nature, frequent fuel stops, and hours and hours alone.

“The hardest part has been the loneliness, really being by yourself over nothing … That’s definitely the hardest part the mental strain,” Ludlow said.

But his mentality motivates him to finish. He said, “The key, following your goals and pushing towards your dreams, you’ll eventually make it.”

When he makes it, he’ll land in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Ludlow expects to end his trip in the Netherlands and plans to donate all unused funds to United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

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