Mack Rutherford, 17, is due to land in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, on August 24 to complete his bid to break the Guinness World Record for the youngest person to fly around the world solo in a small plane.
Rutherford took off from Sofia – the location of its sponsor, ICDSoft – on March 23.
He headed to Italy and Greece, where he stayed longer while obtaining the necessary permits and documents for a later flight.
From Greece, he flew to Egypt, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar and the United Arab Emirates where he stayed for over a month while waiting for a permit to enter Iran.
He didn’t receive it, so he continued to Pakistan, India, Thailand and Vietnam.
From South Korea, he intends to fly to Japan and Alaska, from where he will continue along the west coast of America to Mexico.
Then it will head back north along the east coast to Canada, cross the Atlantic, stop in Iceland, UK and end its journey in Sofia.
Rutherford, born Anglo-Belgian, and his team have faced recurring permit and visa issues delaying his flights.
He also faced monsoon rains that soaked his plane and some documents on board.
In addition, he had to deal with sandstorms in Sudan, extreme heat in Dubai, airport closures in India and numerous technical problems.
On another occasion, he had an electrical failure in the system that pumps his reserve fuel to the aircraft’s main tanks.
If successful, Mack will claim two Guinness World Records. He will become the youngest person to fly around the world solo in a plane – that title is currently held by Travis Ludlow who was 18 at the end of his attempt last year.
Rutherford will also become the youngest person to circumnavigate the world in a microlight, a title currently held by her sister Zara.
Mack wants to take the opportunity to meet young people around the world who are doing amazing things, making a difference in their communities or even the world, according to a press release.
“There are a lot of people my age doing amazing things. Often few people know about them. I’m really looking forward to meeting some of them. Together we can show that young people make a difference,” he said.
Since the age of three, Mack has wanted to be a pilot.
He obtained his pilot’s license in September 2020, which at the time made him the youngest pilot in the world, at the age of 15 years and two months.
He has flown hundreds of hours with his father, who is a professional pilot. The flights included two transatlantic crossings.
Since becoming a pilot, he has been planning his solo flight around the globe. Meanwhile, his sister Zara became the youngest woman to fly around the world, giving Mack an extra push to go.
On January 20, 2022, she completed her own circumnavigation, becoming the youngest woman in history to do so and the youngest person to circumnavigate the world in a microlight.
Like Zara, Mack flies a Shark, a European-made high-performance ultralight aircraft.
It is one of the fastest ultralight aircraft in the world with a cruising speed of up to 300 km/h.
Please help keep Sofia Globe’s independent journalism alive by clicking the orange button below and registering to become a supporter at patreon.com. Becoming a sponsor of the Sofia Globe costs only three euros per month or the equivalent in other currencies.
Become a patron!