Solo aviator to deliver public lecture at USC

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Solo aviator to deliver public lecture at USC


Lachlan Smart celebrates the completion of his solo flight around the world

8 March 2017

World Record-breaking solo pilot and new USC Business student Lachie Smart will outline his approach to setting and achieving extraordinary goals when he presents USC’s fourth annual Geoff Shadforth Memorial Lecture on Thursday 6 April.

Lachie became the youngest person to fly a single-engine aircraft around the world when he landed at Sunshine Coast Airport on 27 August last year, after an eight-week, 45,000km flight across 18 countries. He was just 18 years old.

Lachie, whose Cirrus SR22 plane was called the Spirit of the Sunshine Coast, is now a 19-year-old entrepreneur who embodies that spirit, fitting in his USC Bachelor of Business lectures on campus at Sippy Downs while pursuing entrepreneurial interests designed to inspire young people to realise their dreams.

The Nambour Christian College 2014 graduate said he looked forward to explaining his journey to hundreds of people at USC’s 2017 Geoff Shadforth Memorial Lecture, to be held from 5.30pm to 8pm on Thursday 6 April at USC’S Innovation Centre Auditorium.

“I did the flight to send a message to young people about setting and achieving goals, so I want to offer tips on how to plan and how to deal with tall poppy syndrome,” he said.

“I can see motivation in my generation but, a lot of the time, as we get older we become scared of failing or of being called a ‘try-hard’. The truth is that failure shows you’ve grown in knowledge and experience. It makes you better prepared to try again.

“I want to show that anything is possible if a kid from Nambour living in a single-parent home can plan, over two and a half years, a $350,000 trip around the world.”

Lachie, who remains involved in aviation, said he enrolled at USC this year after getting a taste of the business world during his hugely successful fundraising campaign.

“I really liked it, so I’m looking to combine my work with young people with my interest in business management and startup companies,” he said.

“I had options at a few universities and some of my friends went to Brisbane, but the Sunshine Coast is home for me, I’m established here, and this is a fantastic uni.

“I’m the first in my immediate family to attend uni. My parents always wanted me to go after school (where he received an OP5), but I was more focused on flying. So they’re happy I’m getting into uni now.”

USC’s annual lecture series honours the late Geoff Shadforth, whose passion for creating growth and opportunities on the Sunshine Coast is now maintained by the Shadforth family.

USC Development Office Director Russell Ousley said: “Lachie is a great speaker and his story is relevant to people of all ages. He will surprise and inspire, just like our previous Geoff Shadforth Memorial lecturers.”

For information and ticket bookings, go to the USC web page, call 5430 1104 or email

Julie Schomberg

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