JavaScript is off. Please enable to view full site.

British-Belgian teen becomes youngest person to fly solo around the world

British-Belgian teen becomes youngest person to fly solo around the world

Thursday, August 25, 2022, 14:43 GMT+7
British-Belgian teen becomes youngest person to fly solo around the world
Mack Rutherford sits inside the cabin of his plane after his arrival at an airport near Radomir, Bulgaria, August 24, 2022. Photo: Reuters

A British-Belgian teenager became the youngest person to fly solo around the world on Wednesday after a five-month journey that saw him battle monsoon rains, searing heat and bureaucracy.

Cheers went up as 17-year-old Mack Rutherford landed at an airfield near the Bulgarian capital Sofia after flying 54,124 km (33,631 miles) and visiting more than 30 countries since he departed from the same site in his Shark Aero microlight airplane on March 23.

"There were many points in my journey where it would have been easy to give up...But I kept going, even when it seemed like I wouldn't be able to make it to the end," he said.

Mack Rutherford smiles from the cabin of his plane after his arrival at an airport near Radomir, Bulgaria, August 24, 2022. Photo: Reuters

Mack Rutherford smiles from the cabin of his plane after his arrival at an airport near Radomir, Bulgaria, August 24, 2022. Photo: Reuters

His journey broke two Guinness World records, including one set by his sister Zara, 19, who handed him one of the certificates on the tarmac.

"Amazing to finally be here again and to have done my goal," he said with a wide smile. "It took a little bit longer than I had hoped for, but it was very exciting, very interesting trip and I don't regret at all going on it."

Mack Rutherford receives Guiness World Record certificates after his arrival at an airport near Radomir, Bulgaria, August 24, 2022. Photo: Reuters

Mack Rutherford receives Guiness World Record certificates after his arrival at an airport near Radomir, Bulgaria, August 24, 2022. Photo: Reuters

Rutherford's journey took longer than planned due to permit delays that forced him to alter his route twice and fly over Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, North America and back to Europe.

His favourite flyovers ranged from the Sahara Desert to Greenland and Iceland. But his trip was also full with challenges, like a 10-hour flight from Japan across the Pacific Ocean to the uninhabited U.S. Attu Island during bad weather.

In Sudan, his solar panel system fell down because the heat melted the glue maintaining it in place combined with extreme haze. In India, monsoon rains entered his main fuel tanks and soaked his aircraft including some documents on board.

Rutherford became the youngest person to fly around the world solo, taking the title from Travis Ludlow, who was 18 when he completed his attempt last year.

He is now also the youngest person to fly around the world in a microlight aircraft, the title held previously by sister Zara, who completed her own trip around the globe in January this year.

Mack Rutherford poses with Guiness World Record certificates after his arrival at an airport near Radomir, Bulgaria, August 24, 2022. Photo: Reuters

Mack Rutherford poses with Guiness World Record certificates after his arrival at an airport near Radomir, Bulgaria, August 24, 2022. Photo: Reuters

For now, he is not planning on breaking any new records but to go back to school and catch up with his studies.

Rutherford, who gained his pilot's licence in 2020 when he was 15 after training with his father, hopes his five-month voyage will encourage young people to pursue their dreams.

"Basically, just work hard and push forward with your dreams no matter how old you are. Just keep moving forwards and your dreams will eventually come," he said.

Mack Rutherford poses after his arrival at an airport near Radomir, Bulgaria, August 24, 2022. Photo: Reuters

Mack Rutherford poses after his arrival at an airport near Radomir, Bulgaria, August 24, 2022. Photo: Reuters

A British-Belgian teenager became the youngest person to fly solo around the world on Wednesday after a five-month journey that saw him battle monsoon rains, searing heat and bureaucracy.

Cheers went up as 17-year-old Mack Rutherford landed at an airfield near the Bulgarian capital Sofia after flying 54,124 km (33,631 miles) and visiting more than 30 countries since he departed from the same site in his Shark Aero microlight airplane on March 23.

"There were many points in my journey where it would have been easy to give up...But I kept going, even when it seemed like I wouldn't be able to make it to the end," he said.

Mack Rutherford smiles from the cabin of his plane after his arrival at an airport near Radomir, Bulgaria, August 24, 2022. Photo: Reuters

Mack Rutherford smiles from the cabin of his plane after his arrival at an airport near Radomir, Bulgaria, August 24, 2022. Photo: Reuters

His journey broke two Guinness World records, including one set by his sister Zara, 19, who handed him one of the certificates on the tarmac.

"Amazing to finally be here again and to have done my goal," he said with a wide smile. "It took a little bit longer than I had hoped for, but it was very exciting, very interesting trip and I don't regret at all going on it."

Mack Rutherford receives Guiness World Record certificates after his arrival at an airport near Radomir, Bulgaria, August 24, 2022. Photo: Reuters

Mack Rutherford receives Guiness World Record certificates after his arrival at an airport near Radomir, Bulgaria, August 24, 2022. Photo: Reuters

Rutherford's journey took longer than planned due to permit delays that forced him to alter his route twice and fly over Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, North America and back to Europe.

His favourite flyovers ranged from the Sahara Desert to Greenland and Iceland. But his trip was also full with challenges, like a 10-hour flight from Japan across the Pacific Ocean to the uninhabited U.S. Attu Island during bad weather.

In Sudan, his solar panel system fell down because the heat melted the glue maintaining it in place combined with extreme haze. In India, monsoon rains entered his main fuel tanks and soaked his aircraft including some documents on board.

Rutherford became the youngest person to fly around the world solo, taking the title from Travis Ludlow, who was 18 when he completed his attempt last year.

He is now also the youngest person to fly around the world in a microlight aircraft, the title held previously by sister Zara, who completed her own trip around the globe in January this year.

Mack Rutherford poses with Guiness World Record certificates after his arrival at an airport near Radomir, Bulgaria, August 24, 2022. Photo: Reuters

Mack Rutherford poses with Guiness World Record certificates after his arrival at an airport near Radomir, Bulgaria, August 24, 2022. Photo: Reuters

For now, he is not planning on breaking any new records but to go back to school and catch up with his studies.

Rutherford, who gained his pilot's licence in 2020 when he was 15 after training with his father, hopes his five-month voyage will encourage young people to pursue their dreams.

"Basically, just work hard and push forward with your dreams no matter how old you are. Just keep moving forwards and your dreams will eventually come," he said.

Mack Rutherford poses after his arrival at an airport near Radomir, Bulgaria, August 24, 2022. Photo: Reuters

Mack Rutherford poses after his arrival at an airport near Radomir, Bulgaria, August 24, 2022. Photo: Reuters

Reuters

More

Read more

Disasters cost $268 billion in 2022: Swiss Re

Natural and man-made catastrophes have caused $268 billion of economic losses so far in 2022, chiefly driven by Hurricane Ian and other extreme weather disasters, reinsurance giant Swiss Re estimated Thursday

1 day ago
;

Photos

VIDEOS

‘Taste of Australia’ gala dinner held in Ho Chi Minh City after 2-year hiatus

Taste of Australia Gala Reception has returned to the Park Hyatt Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1 after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Vietnamese woman gives unconditional love to hundreds of adopted children

Despite her own immense hardship, she has taken in and cared for hundreds of orphans over the past three decades.

Vietnam’s Mekong Delta celebrates spring with ‘hat boi’ performances

The art form is so popular that it attracts people from all ages in the Mekong Delta

Vietnamese youngster travels back in time with clay miniatures

Each work is a scene caught by Dung and kept in his memories through his journeys across Vietnam

Latest news