Ryan Campbell, 19, on landing at Albion Park Regional Airport after flying solo around the world. Campbell has broken the world record to become the youngest pilot to fly a single-engine aircraft solo around the world. (AAP Image/Dylan Robinson/DCZ)
Ryan Campbell, 19, on landing at Albion Park Regional Airport after flying solo around the world. Campbell has broken the world record to become the youngest pilot to fly a single-engine aircraft solo around the world. (AAP Image/Dylan Robinson/DCZ) Dylan Robinson

Sailor Jessica Watson inspired Tiger Moth crash pilot

THE young pilot who survived a fatal Tiger Moth crash on the Gold Coast which killed a 58-year-old passenger, drew inspiration from Mooloolaba around-the-world sailor Jessica Watson ahead of his own record-breaking circumnavigation of the globe in 2013.

Ryan Campbell, of Merimbula, in southern NSW, had been working as operations manager for Tiger Moth Joy Rides at Pimpama for less than a month when the crash occurred just after take off from an airstrip at Norwell on Monday morning, killing Gary Turnbull of Coutts Crossing, near Grafton.

He retained consciousness long enough to ring emergency services seeking help and is now recovering in hospital following surgery.

Mr Campbell, 21, wrote the book Born to Fly about his 70-day flight in 2013 that covered more than 24,000 nautical miles and involved 34 stops in 15 countries.

His successful flight also brought an invitation from Steve Padgett, of the Sunshine Coast-based AeromilPacific, to be given an introduction to the aviation industry as a pilot, also developing youth pilot training programs and promoting Cessna aircraft products.

Ms Watson became the youngest person to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world, in 2010.

She and Mr Campbell carried with them on their journeys a piece of fabric given to them by Dick Smith which was taken from pioneer aviator Charles Kingsford Smith's plane Southern Cross.

A week before Mr Campbell's own record-breaking flight, Ms Watson rang to offer support and advice.

"I couldn't believe it when Jess called," Mr Campbell said at the time.

"She was so down-to-earth and offered me a few pieces of advice and it was really obvious how determined she is and why she is so successful in everything she does.

"I am in awe of what she did when she sailed around the world and I have used her achievements as inspiration throughout the planning for my trip. I am sure I'll call on that inspiration again during the next 10 weeks."

Ms Watson said she had told Mr Campbell to stay mentally focussed.

"It was easy for me, as once I started I didn't see anyone for seven months," she told his website.

"So I just got in the zone and focussed on what I was doing. Whereas Ryan will be meeting different people at each stop. Mentally that will be a bit of a challenge for him, but I am sure he is up for it."


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