The Gold Coast Airport community has issued a big Queensland welcome to a young Tasmanian pilot attempting to set a new world record flight around Australia.
Sixteen-year-old Bob Bramley departed Gold Coast Airport this morning after an overnight pit-stop as part of his attempt to become the youngest pilot to circumnavigate Australia solo and unassisted.
He is using his world record attempt to raise awareness for youth suicide after almost losing two friends to suicide in late 2017.
Bob will fly to Mackay today, after departing Devonport Aero Club in his Cessna 172M on Monday. The Gold Coast is just one stop on his 15,000km journey to 40 communities across Australia before he is due to return home on May 7.
Gold Coast Airport will be donating fuel and waiving landing fees to help the young pilot on his mission, while hangar space and handling services have been donated by aeronautical services provider Platinum Business Aviation Centre.
Gold Coast Airport General Manager Operations and Service Delivery Brett Curtis said the local aviation community would be watching Bob’s progress keenly, eager to see the young pilot achieve his goal.
“Ever since the early days of aviation, there’s been a fascination with aircraft and breaking the next barrier in aviation,” he said.
“It’s great to see a pilot as young as Bob continue to strive towards achieving such a goal. Australia is a big continent – what better way to see it than from the air, circumnavigating our magnificent coastline?
“We wish Bob all the best of luck and look forward to following his progress. We are confident this young man will inspire teenagers across the country as they look to their futures with renewed optimism.”
Platinum Business Aviation Centre Aviation Manager Dick Smart said it was great to see a young person so passionate about aviation and putting this passion towards an honourable cause such as suicide prevention.
“To see Bob make a difference and bring awareness to a cause that affects so many Australians is inspiring,” he said.
“Bob may be flying solo, but he has a whole lot of support traveling with him.”
Bob said he was pleased the trip was finally underway after a year of planning.
“With the best possible weather conditions, the trip will take just over three weeks. I plan to return to Devonport on May 7 after what will probably be the most exciting three weeks of my life to date and possibly ever,” he said.
“I’m especially looking forward to meeting people, hearing their stories and promoting positive conversations about youth suicide and mental health.
“I hope this trip helps to break the stigma surrounding youth suicide, which affects so many people in communities across Australia. I am also looking forward to travelling to some of the most remote communities in Australia and experiencing the culture that they have to offer.”
* Follow Bob's journey on Facebook or on his website at www.survivingturbulence.com