A 17-year-old flying solo around the country stopped in town this week during his journey to become the youngest person to circumnavigate Australia unassisted.
Olliver O’Halloran was 15 days into this massive undertaking when he caught up with The Esperance Express at our local airport on May 30 to give us an update on the journey so far.
While most teenagers are eagerly awaiting their first set of P plates, Oliver O’Halloran recently earned his pilots licence and is already putting it to good use.
He is celebrating this jump in freedom by attempting to be the youngest person to fly unassisted around the country.
Having previously flown solo around his home state of Tasmania, this was the biggest trip Ollie had attempted.
“It got quite interesting on those first few legs, sort of working everything out,” he said.
“You work out it’s pretty straight forward.
“It’s been a lot easier than I thought it was going be in the way of flying and planning.
“I got caught up in Perth for two days because of the weather down here.
Still in grade 11, this was the first time Ollie was really getting out and seeing Australia.
“This has been a really big trek. You don’t realise how far you’ve gone yet,” he said.
Ollie said he was inspired by fellow-Australian pilot Ryan Campbell, who set the record for the youngest person to fly solo around the world at 19 years old.
“I started flying back in 2014 a month later saw a video of Ryan Campbell,” he said.
“That sort of sparked my idea, I didn’t know what i wanted to do, I just sort of wanted to do something big.
“About a year and half ago I met Ryan down at Cambridge and got to speak with him and had a flight with him.
“That was just the moment which I knew I wanted to do this.
“I knew it was going to be flying somewhere, some sort of big trip.”
Ollie said his dreams felt within reach after meeting with Campbell.
“Originally I thought he must be this special guy to be be able to do something like that,” he said.
“To actually meet him and talk to him, and get to know him, he’s just a normal guy like me.
“I guess that makes you more confident to be able to achieve something.”
During his trip Ollie has been visiting school across the country to inspire others, as Campbell did for him.
“That’s the great thing about me going around Australia, I can meet the students and they get to know me,” he said.
“Then they can sort of see that I’m nothing special.
“I’m just someone that’s committed to a dream and going there.
“It’s all about seeing every opportunity and going for it.
“That’s sort of the attitude which I’ve tried to follow
Ollie said he wanted to do an even bigger trip after this but was taking things one step at a time.
But the grade 11 student still has to study for exams, which are on a week after he gets home.