Chloe Familton’s story about her dream to be the youngest woman to circumnavigate Australia solo while raising $20,000 for A Start In Life was in our 17 November issue, just after she set off on her flight.
We at Hills to Hawkesbury Community News have been closely following Chloe’s journey, and we were keen to catch up with her again to hear about the highlights of the journey so far.
The 17-year-old Cherrybrook local is now a month into her journey, and she has faced a number of unforeseen challenges like a change in aircraft and tropical weather patterns that have delayed her progress. Chloe says: “Every day has had its own challenges and you just can’t predict them. I’ve needed to be flexible and adapt to whatever happens. But I’ve met so many wonderful people at all the stops I’ve been to – it’s been great!”
Chloe grew up hearing stories of her grandfather’s experiences as a pilot in the Vietnam War and as a civil air traffic controller, giving her a reverence for the world of flying. She says: “We got to go up to the tower with him and watch all the aircraft landing and departing. We even got to go out and see some of them, and I think that gave me the idea that flying was something I’d like to do.”
However, only 5% of Australian pilots are women, which meant Chloe did not consider it as a potential career until much later. “The way aviation is presented to the general public, you don’t really see much female representation,” Chloe says. “So I’m hoping that through this flight, I’m able to show people who were like me three years ago that it’s very much possible for anyone, especially women, to do.”
At every stop of the trip, Chloe has been welcomed with open arms by the Australian aviation community. She remarks: “I haven’t expected all the support I’ve received from every airport.
There’ve been people who have come out to meet me at Townsville, and at Rockhampton a tower controller recognised my voice and wished me good luck. I wasn’t expecting that, but it was really wonderful – aviation as a community is a small niche, but everyone in it has been so welcoming and so supportive.”
Reflecting on the trip so far, Chloe says: “To be honest, I’ve completely loved it. While flying, it requires incredible focus on managing all the systems and navigating weather. But taking a few moments to just look out the window and see the country underneath me change from being quite tropical to completely red was insane.”
“Every time I take off and set myself up in the air, I always think I’m the luckiest girl in the world to be able to do this. Flying is very much my passion, so getting to do it every day is the most fun thing ever.”
Follow Chloe’s journey and donate to A Start in Life at https://www.chloefamilton.au.