London-born and Nigerian-raised Lola Odujinrin began dreaming about performing a solo flight around the world when he was a mere 10 years old. This passion for aviation, further nurtured by Lola’s first real flight in the flight deck of a BAC-111 when he was 14, gained steam from its inception and led to his obtaining a Private Pilot License (PPL) not long after.
Now, Lola’s been in the aviation industry for 19 years, working as a commercial pilot and using his skills to shatter barriers and to inspire a similar love of flying in a new generation of youth. This desire to motivate people by proving that nothing is impossible — along with the trip being a longtime dream — was largely what led to Lola’s finally setting out on his solo circumnavigation.
By the time he took off on the first leg of his journey in June 2016, Lola had been planning in one form or another for 12 years. The biggest challenge, he says, arose when it came to figuring out how to make ends meet while trekking across the globe.
‘The most important aspect of planning any project like this is financial procurement,’ Lola says. ‘A round-the-world flight isn’t cheap, so it was such a great relief when Spidertracks came aboard to sponsor the tracking of the trip.’
Spidertracks’ real-time tracking software made it possible for Lola to fly anywhere on Earth (including to small islands and conflict-ridden regions) without falling off the map — and the system’s robust communication capabilities meant he was able to stay in contact with his followers and team throughout the entire expedition.
‘Having Spidertracks watching over me while I flew in remote areas and across vast oceans, desert, and jungle was so reassuring. The system provided an accurate real-time status update of my whereabouts, which my family desperately needed,’ Lola notes.
Knowing without a doubt that his location would always be known in the event of an emergency provided immense peace of mind and allowed Lola to channel all his energy and effort into the task at hand: becoming the first African to fly solo around the world.
The journey ended up taking nine months to complete, and Lola says he wouldn’t have been able to do it without Spidertracks. In addition to providing him with end-to-end real-time tracking and a consistent and reliable means of communication, Spidertracks also offered a safety net that allowed other sponsors to feel more comfortable joining Lola’s team.
‘After Spidertracks came aboard, other sponsors followed because of the safety assurance Spidertracks offered. They could be certain that any necessary rescue would go that much more smoothly since my exact location was always known to great precision,’ Lola says.
He also highlights the ease with which Spidertracks integrated into his website and the simplicity of the hardware: ‘The fact that the unit connected directly to the aircraft electrical socket meant I didn’t have to worry about losing signal due to loss of battery.’
All these attributes of the Spidertracks system contributed to a successful round-the-world odyssey for the intrepid pilot. Despite the usual obstacles — fundraising, technical issues, weather concerns — Lola managed to maintain his relentlessly positive attitude and learned some important lessons along the way.
‘Being resolute and persistent was definitely the key to my success,’ he states. ‘It’s the hardest test I’ve had to date, but now I know that nothing is impossible.’
And as for Spidertracks, it’s clear that Lola won’t be flying anywhere without the trusty tracking system.
‘Flying without Spidertracks today is like flying completely without GPS. Why would anyone go on an adventure without this reliable tracking device?’
For more information on Lola’s journey and his other endeavours, head to his website here — and to learn more about how you can get started with Spidertracks, click here to contact us.