![CDATA[ [if IE 9] ]]>
SIENA Catholic College, Sippy Downs, Year 12 student Liam Morey will embark on a journey that will take him around Australia and possibly into the record books.
His goal - to break the world record for the youngest, unassisted circumnavigation of Australia by aircraft.
Departing from the Sunshine Coast Aero Club, Liam will fly a Bristell Light Sport Aircraft more than 16,000km around Australia, making about 30 stops along the way over a three to four-week period, depending on the weather.
An incredible achievement for a 16-year-old.
The current record was held by Oliver O'Halloran, who completed the trip at 17 years and nine months.
Upon the successful completion of his flight, Liam will have beaten the current record holder by almost 12 months.
Liam said his aim was not just to get into the record books but also to promote the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) field to high school students and deliver a message of youth empowerment.
“In Australia about 150,000 jobs have just been created in STEM, but only about 100,000 are filled," he said.
“I'm hoping the presentations will develop and foster a passion for STEM within our young people, and also show that they can set their own big goals with enough perseverance."
Liam said his parents were very supportive but nervous about his trip.
“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."
But he said his Teen Around Oz team was jam-packed with expertise, including Lachlan Smart, the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe solo in a single-engine plane in 2016, and Ryan Campbell, who held the record in 2013.
Liam's challenge 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," he 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.
However, 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."
You can follow Liam's journey around Australia on his website, www.teenaroundoz.com.
Brisbane Catholic Education Office
2A Burke Street, Woolloongabba Qld 4102 Australia
Turrbal and Yuggera Country
GPO Box 1201 Brisbane 4001 Australia
Phone: (07) 3033 7000
Fax: (07) 3844 5101