In Home Stretch, 16-Year Old Becomes the Youngest to Circumnavigate Earth in an Airplane
A 16-year old British boy is nearing the final leg of his five month adventure to become youngest person to fly around the world solo.
Mack Rutherford set off on the daredevil mission from an air base in Sofia, Bulgaria in March, and if successful he will become the youngest person to circumnavigate the world solo in an aircraft.
He would clinch a Guinness World record currently held by fellow Brit Travis Ludlow, who was 18 when he completed the mission last year.
His sister Zara Rutherford, 19, became the youngest woman to fly around the world solo when GNN reported that she finished a similar mission earlier this year and still holds the title.
After a period in New York, he set off from JFK Airport 2 days hence, and will land in the UK at Biggin Hill Airport on Monday the 22nd. The teen is looking, weather permitting, to return to his starting point in Bulgaria and complete his mission on the 24th.
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Over his five month trip, Mack headed from Bulgaria to Cagliari in Sardinia, on to Africa, visiting Congo, Madagascar and Mauritius.
He then headed north to UAE, to India, China, South Korea and Japan, before flying to Alaska and continuing along the west coast of America to Mexico.
Mack then flew north again along the east coast to Canada, crossing the Atlantic, and will now be stopping in Iceland before the UK.
Throughout his trip, Mack has faced sandstorms in Sudan, Dubai’s extreme heat, airport closures in India and electrical failures in the system which pumps his reserve fuel to the aircraft’s main tanks.
Mack, who qualified for his pilot license in September 2020, and has dual British-Belgian nationality, was born in a family of aviators. His father Sam is a professional ferry pilot, his mother Beatrice is a private pilot, and his sister Zara, as mentioned earlier, is also a pilot. Mack became the youngest pilot in the world, aged 15 years and two months.
“I have been fortunate to have had a family that has been able to help me progress in my flying,” said Mack, who lives on the outskirts of Brussels. “But no matter what background you have I believe it is never too early to work towards your dreams and you shouldn’t limit yourself by others’ expectations.”
Mack has flown hundreds of hours with his dad, who is a professional pilot. The flights included two Trans-Atlantic crossings, but ever since he became a pilot, he has been planning his solo flight around the globe.
Mack will also become the youngest person to circumnavigate the world in a microlight, the title held currently by his sister Zara, after which one images there would be a fair amount of simmering sibling rivalry in future missions.
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