HIGH schooler Liam Morey won’t be needing boredom busters these holidays as he attempts to make a new world record for the youngest person to fly solo around Australia.
The Year 11 student from Siena Catholic College, Sippy Downs, plans to become the youngest person to circumnavigate Australia solo by plane in September.
The record in Australia is held by a 17 year old, but if all goes to plan, Liam will complete his journey by the time he is 16 years and nine months.
He plans to make a new world record in just three weeks.
Liam will begin a 16,000km journey from the Sunshine Coast flying in the direction of Cape York peninsula, head down through the Gulf of Carpentaria, fly over Darwin before heading down the Kimberley coast and across Perth, then tackle the underside of Australia crossing to Adelaide and Melbourne, dipping to Tasmania before heading back home via Canberra, Sydney and Coffs Harbour.
It will be the first time Liam has visited all of Australia’s major capital cities, having only travelled “once or twice” to Sydney and Melbourne.
“I haven’t had the privilege of being well travelled so I’ll get to know a lot of our country and see really cool sights,” Liam said.
The idea to break the world record initially came from one of Liam’s friends whom he mentors in Sydney but has never met.
Liam raised the idea with his Sunshine Coast flight instructor and the pair “pushed really hard” to develop a record-breaking flight plan.
The 16-year-old said he was no flying expert but was keen to expand his repertoire by circumnavigating his home country with support from his logistics team and his parents, who might meet Liam halfway through his journey in Perth.
“My parents are supportive and yet nervous, but it’s healthy at this stage,” Liam said.
“I do understand that it’s a big feat, and quite daunting especially from mum’s point of view, but we’re doing everything properly to make sure we have no problems.”
Liam will make roughly 30 stops throughout the trip to refuel, eat and rest, but has also scheduled to give presentations to students in Year 10, 11 and 12.
“The whole point of the presentation is to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) as well as deliver a message of youth empowerment,” Liam said.
“In Australia about 150,000 jobs have just been created in STEM, but only about 100,000 are filled.
“I’m hoping the presentations will develop and foster a passion for STEM within our young people, and also showing that they can set their own big goals with enough perseverance.”
Liam’s big goal comes just two and a half years after booking his first flying lesson.
“I always had a passion for aviation, even since I was a little kid,” Liam said.
“None of my family is a pilot, but I think as a young kid I loved playing with flight simulators.
“About three years ago I started to get part time jobs for flight training and last year I became the youngest pilot in Australia.”
The pathway to the title has not been easy – flight training costs around $260 per hour, and Liam was required to complete more than 30 hours to receive his licence.
But he has no plans to upgrade to any of Australia’s bigger airbuses or even make a career out of his passion.
“I’m pretty much enjoying the lighter planes for now,” Liam said.
“Honestly I don’t have any urge to fly the big buses, it just doesn’t interest me.
“I love the grassroots general aviation because there’s lots of community support behind it.”
Liam said his Catholic school community especially his year level coordinator and principal, Michael McCarthy, “have been fantastic”.
“They’ve helped me come up with a plan and how to stick to it, on education things,” Liam said.
“In reality I am missing a week of school, so they’ve made sure I’m going to be able to talk to my teachers and make sure we’re doing everything properly so I don’t miss out academically.”
Follow Liam’s journey around Australia on his website, www.teenaroundoz.com.