Teen pilot welcomed by US in record bid

A few storms have been the only hiccups so far for Merimbula pilot Ryan Campbell's round-the-world flight.

Mr Campbell, 19, is one-third the way through his record-breaking flight, aiming to pinch the mantle of the youngest person to fly solo around the world from American pilot Jack Wiegand.

Speaking yesterday from Greenville, Mississippi, Mr Campbell said he had encountered some nasty weather, which had forced a few minor changes.

"I'm meant to be in Smyrna, Texas. I stopped in Greenview to refuel, but the weather has been no good so I had to stay here," he said.

World record attempt: Ryan clears Pacific

Previous bad weather in Texas forced a flight re-route, while Mr Campbell scrambled to find a hangar to house his Cirrus SR-22 plane from impending hail and thunderstorms in Arizona.

"I was watching TV and a severe weather warning popped up," he said.

"The plane was parked outside, so I had to run out to the airport and find a hangar for the night."

Mr Campbell said his time in Arizona, Texas and Mississippi had been big highlights, as he mingled with locals and experienced some southern hospitality.

"I said no stop would be as good as Van Nuys [California], but the last few have been great. The people have been so interested. They drove me around everywhere, showed me around and didn't expect anything in return," he said.

He called the last few days "phenomenal" as he got the chance to fly a rare Beechcraft Staggerwing plane and toured "the Boneyard", a massive aircraft storage facility.

Mr Campbell said he was still on track to land back in Wollongong and claim his world record on September 7. To follow his progress, see teenworldflight.com

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