The conversations of life

84-year-old pilot takes off on 13,000km solo flight around Australia

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Lawrie Hutton, a member of the Broken Hill Aero Club, has set off in his old Cessna 172 to fly solo to the four most extreme points on the Australian mainland – the longest flight he’s ever done, according to the ABC.

Mr Hutton came up with the idea back in 2013 as a way of encouraging older one-time pilots to take up flying again – and inspire those interested in flying to follow their dream.

The trip will take the octogenarian adventurer down to Wilsons Promontory in the south, Cape Byron in the east, Cape York in the north and finally Steep Point in the west, flying in daily four-hour legs so he can land to re-fuel.

So will Mr Hutton be setting a record as our oldest solo flyer?

Age no limit

He says he can’t recall meeting many other pilots his age who have attempted a similar journey.

“There was an old retired guy, a 93-year-old, who showed up at Broome on his around-Australia flight in a Brumby light aircraft. That would be quite a feat, I think, for that gentleman.”

His original plan had been to fly with his wife Jean, but she passed away in November last year.

“I’ve had a lot of support and encouragement to this point,” he said. “But, on the trip itself, I don’t have any direct support.”

“But … I’m happy to fly on my own. You’re never too old – go for it!”

Inspirational words – we wish him well.

Lauren Broomham

Lauren is a journalist for villages.com.au, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.


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