A British teenager has become the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe, after Covid setbacks almost cost him the record.
Travis Ludlow set a new Guinness World Record when he touched down in the Netherlands on Monday after a 26,675-mile solo flight.
Aged 18 years and 150 days, he beat the previous record-holder, Mason Andrews from the US, who was 13 days older when he completed his journey in 2018.
Travis had intended to set the record last year, when he was 17, but his plans were thwarted by Covid travel restrictions.
He took off in the Cessna 172R Diesel from Teuge airport in the Netherlands on May 29 and arrived back after traversing four continents, 15 countries and 63 stops. He then flew home to High Wycombe, Bucks, where he was presented with his world record certificate.
Travis traversed four continents, 15 countries and made 63 stops during his journey
Credit: PAUL GROVER FOR THE TELEGRAPH
Travis took his private pilot licence while sitting his GCSEs, and his instrument rating qualification while studying for his A-levels at Great Marlow School in Buckinghamshire. He left school four days before beginning his adventure.
Travis’s grandfather was a photographer with the RAF, but that was his only family link to aviation. Yet his fascination with planes was evident from an early age.
His proud father, Nick Ludlow, told The Telegraph: "When he came to me at 10 and said he wanted to do this, I just patted him on the back and said, ‘Off you go’. I thought, ‘I’m sure you want to be an astronaut or a tank driver too.’ But he’s just never given up.
"He doesn’t give up on anything. I bought him a unicycle and he taught himself to ride it in three days, and three month later he rode it in a triathlon. He flew a glider on his 14th birthday and it just escalated.
Travis took his private pilot licence while sitting his GCSEs, and his instrument rating qualification while studying for his A-levels
"Travis has been doing amazing things for quite some time now. If anyone’s going to do this sort of thing, it’s him. He’s that type of kid."
Mr Ludlow and his wife, Loryn, endured sleepless nights as they tracked Travis’s journey.
"There were periods of the trip when my wife and I were taking it in turns to have two hours’ sleep. It was very stressful. I’ve been working with Travis on this for three years but I didn’t expect to be so exhausted. I’m glad it’s over," he said.
Mr Ludlow said that Travis’s ambition now was "to motivate young people to follow their dreams". But his immediate plan was to celebrate his return with a meal at Nando’s.