April 20, 2013 at 7:52 am
On his way to becoming the youngest Malaysian pilot to fly solo around the world in a single engine aircraft, the charming and well-spoken James Anthony Tan arrived in Vancouver on April 11, day 15 of his journey, to share his story with the west coast of Canada.
At just 20, James was awarded “The Youngest Malaysian to fly a Single Engine Piston Aircraft in an Expedition” by the Malaysia Book of Records in 2012 and his current goal is to be included in the 2013 Guinness Book of World Records for this impressive venture. The young pilot will visit 20 countries and include 30 pit-stops throughout his 50 day journey, covering 22,000 nautical miles (41,000 km). Fans are calling him the “2nd Tom Cruise” as he smiles and gives thumbs up to the adoring cameras, mothers find him endearing as they imagine their own son in his place and I’m sure he’s got the young ladies swooning with his dashing smile and heartfelt public speaking skills.
All this makes him the perfect poster boy for the Visit Malaysia 2014 Ad Campaign, backed by Malaysia Tourism, Young Pilots Association Malaysia, Malaysia Felda Youth Council and 1M4U Cooperation. With the goal to bring Malaysia to the rest of the world, James and his team hope to bring more visitors to their beautiful country.
Although a perfect promotional equation, James “want[s] to make clear that this expedition is not solely about aviation,” but “it is to inspire people to dream and for them to actually pursue it, because one of the worst things, I believe, is having human potential, but lacking the discipline to see it through.” Learning to overcome dyslexia throughout his life, he says, has made him fight harder for his cause and has given him the desire to encourage other youth to dream big and believe in themselves. Almost 2 yrs in the making, what started as a dream has become reality for the 21 year old pilot.
This ambitious young man usually starts his day at 5 am, getting to the airport early to de-ice and prepare for whatever weather might be in his way that day. His solo flights in a Cessna 210 Silver Eagle (of which only 107 were made) last up to 6 hrs at time, and he keeps a strict exercise regiment to keep the blood flowing when not in flight, also claiming that a Mars Bar does wonders to keep him alert in the air. When asked what his next projects include, his answer was to “like” his Facebook page and follow the journey with him to see what’s next!