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Teenage Ontario pilot over Prairies in the middle of cross-Canada journey

07/13/2012 04:59 EDT | Updated 09/12/2012 05:12 EDT
A northern Ontario teen is flying over the Prairies in his quest to set a cross-country solo flying record.

Matthew Gougeon, 16, flew himself out of Regina on Friday morning headed for his hometown of Sudbury, Ont.

Gougeon is in the middle of a journey from Tofino, B.C., to Halifax.

He hopes to become the youngest person to fly an amphibious aircraft solo from coast to coast.

Gougeon left Tofino on Thursday — a day earlier than planned — to take advantage of good weather.

Gougeon's adventure can be followed on Twitter as he tweets about his travels using the hashtag #xcanadasolo.

"About to leave Regina for Sudbury, so ahead of schedule it is crazy," he tweeted Friday.

Gougeon started his formal flight training at 13, but has been getting lessons from his father since he was seven.

Last summer, he passed his private pilot written test on the first try.

He posted aerial-view photographs of the Rocky Mountains on Thursday.

"Flying over such rugged terrain was a very neat experience, and I look forward to doing it again today," he said.

As he attempts to establish a record, Gougeon will also be collecting donations for the Neil Armstrong Fund, which provides flight training to young people.

"The main goal of the flight is to collect donations for those who are not fortunate enough to fly, and have the determination and work ethic to become a pilot," he said.

The teen will have a camera mounted on his wing to document parts of his trip and plans to keep those interested in his journey updated through his website along the way.

He's flying a Cessna 182 with amphibious floats for his cross-country trip and estimates the entire journey will take about 25 hours in the air.

Gougeon is scheduled to arrive in Halifax on July 19 or 20, but if he keeps up at this pace, he might get there a little earlier.

"20 knot (40 km/h) tailwind for the win!," he tweeted Friday.

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