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Young pilot nearing home and another world record — flying solo around the globe

Mason Andrews of Monroe, La., stands next to his family’s Piper PA-32 single-engine piston plane that has carried him around the world. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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A stop in Roswell was just the thing for a young pilot out to set a world record while raising money for a nonprofit helping children.

Mason Andrews, 18, of Monroe, Louisiana, is only days away from completing what will be his third — and most significant — world record, being the youngest pilot to fly solo around the world.

The Louisiana Tech University junior and Eagle Scout, who is studying to earn a degree in professional aviation, already has set two other world records since beginning his journey July 22, youngest solo pilot to cross the Atlantic Ocean and the youngest pilot to cross the Pacific alone.

“I am glad that it is about over,” said Andrews after stopping for the night in Roswell, before heading out to Dallas Thursday and then on to his hometown and his end destination Saturday, where celebrations are awaiting him.

Andrews arrived at the AVFlight fixed base operation at the Roswell International Air Center about 2:45 p.m. Wednesday.

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“I stopped here once before,” he said. “That’s why I decided to land here again.”

He explained that he had flown into the Roswell airfield in 2017 when flying to the Grand Canyon with family members.

He said the idea of the journey across the world took form when he and friends were pondering whether he could fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

“When I figured out a way to do that, I thought to myself, I would just have to come back across the Atlantic so I might as well go around the globe,” he said.

Once he decided on his plan, which included modifying the plane to carry more fuel, according to his website, he decided to hook the endeavor to an effort to help others. He has raised $30,000 so far for MedCamps of Louisiana, which provides free summer camps to children diagnosed with disabilities or illnesses. Andrews said he has worked at the camps as a counselor for a few years.

Flying since he was 15 and having his pilot’s license for about a year, Andrews, who turned 18 in April and will be younger than the previous record-holder by a couple of months, casually said he didn’t encounter a lot of difficulties on his 74-day, 26,000-mile journey. Monsoon weather in India and typhoons in the Philippines slowed him down a bit, according to Facebook posts, but he characterized the obstacles as “nothing too bad.”

Andrews’ journey can be followed on Facebook and a website, medcampsmission.org.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.