The next record beckons

Sailing schoolboy Mike Perham, 18, has announced plans to become the youngest person to fly solo around the world. He launched the bid at the Farnborough International Air Show, just 11 months after he returned to a hero’s welcome in Portsmouth last August to become the youngest person to sail around the world single handed, a record soon snatched away by Australian sailor Jessica Watson.

Perham hopes to be off next summer after completing flying lessons and masterminding the planning and logistics. Perham, who only passed his driving test a few months ago, has begun an intensive training programme for this next challenge at Elstree Aerodrome. Mike said, ‘It is truly amazing to experience the freedom that flying gives. There is a lot to learn, but I’m loving it’.

Steve Hinton-Lver, director of Cabair says, ‘When Mike first came to see us with his plans, we were immediately impressed by his mature approach and outlook on life. Mike will make an excellent ambassador for the industry and we can expect him to inspire many into taking up flying.’

Liam Dunleavy Mike’s flying instructor, said, ‘It is great to be able to work with someone who shows such determination to succeed. Mike has a natural aptitude and I am sure his experience of sailing around the world will be a great asset to his flying goals’

Perham, who was listed by both Time Magazine and The China Daily in their top 10 heroes of 2009, will challenge the current record holder, Barrington Irving from the USA, who flew solo around the world at the age of 23.

The record route, which is adjudicated by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, will take Perham, who already holds 2 Guinness World Endurance Records, across 18 Countries during the 3-month long record attempt. The flight must start and finish at the same aerodrome, crossing all meridians and be not be less that 19,864nm (equal in length to the Tropic of Cancer).

Perham, who is an Ambassador for the Prince’s Trust, has a good track record. His solo round the world sailing voyage undertaken in 2008/9, generated a wave of media coverage that made him a household name right around the world, delivering more than £60 million in air time and column inches for his sponsors. His exploits were also the subject of a 90-minute Channel 4 TV documentary, which has since been aired by other TV networks in France and USA.

Since completing that solo voyage, Perham has encouraged thousands of young people to make more of their lives, delivering his ‘Live the Dream’ talks to schools, youth groups and business motivational conferences in the UK, Hong Kong and Australia.

Perham has seen first hand the enormous difference adventures like this can have on other people. He has a stack of emails saying how inspired they have become after following his voyage around the world. He frequently visits schools and says, “It is hugely satisfying to see so many young people engaging with what I have to say. I love taking questions and to see a sea of hands in the air is just amazing. If only more people of my age realised they too could live their dreams. Nothing is impossible if you want it enough. I come from land locked Potters Bar, yet I managed to sail around the world.”

To follow Perham’s activities, visit his website
*Sir Francis Chichester who inspired many to attempt a solo circumnavigation after his own in Gipsy Moth IV in 1966, also tried to become the first to fly solo around the world. His bid ended when his plane crashed into electric cables in Japan.