Ryan Campbell’s story is one of highs, lows, and of dealing with adversity. At 19 years old, he created history by becoming the youngest person and first teenager to fly solo around the world. The 24,000 nautical mile journey to 15 countries was completed in a tiny single engine airplane. Having completed his trip and broken the record, Ryan returned home and published his book Born to Fly, about his adventure. He then went on to fly for a living and traveled throughout Australia on the speaking circuit.
On December 28 2015, Ryan went to work to fly a vintage WWII biplane. After an engine failure at low-level on take-off , the plane crashed. Ryan was cut from the wreckage and flown to hospital where he underwent surgery. Soon afterwards he was admitted to a spinal cord injury rehabilitation ward. His spinal cord injury at L1 rendered him paraplegic with no movement from the waist down.
Ryan’s aim was to get back to walking and flying. Although he knew where he wanted to get to, he didn’t know how he was going to get there. One day he realised that to move forward he needed to ‘toughen up’. From this point, although things were still difficult, they became easier to manage. By focusing on what he could change, he started his recovery.
After 18 months in hospital and rehabilitation, Ryan was back to his feet and back in the cockpit. Determined to succeed, he used his previous life experiences to form a new mindset to tackle change head on and use the adversity thrown his way to fuel his recovery.
Ryan now lives in Nashville, Tennessee where he is a key note speaker. You can get in touch with him through his website