17-year-old sets record for solo flight around world

17-year-old sets record for solo flight around world

A 17-year-old pilot became the youngest person to fly solo around the world in a small aircraft after he landed on Wednesday in Bulgaria, where his journey kicked off five months ago.

Mack Rutherford, a Belgian-British dual national, landed on an airstrip west of Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, to complete his task and to claim two Guinness World Records. Along with becoming the youngest person to fly around the world by himself, Rutherford is the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe in a microlight plane.

In a Facebook video posted after he landed safely, Rutherford said he was “trying to show young people can make a difference.”

Guinness Worl Record BROKEN!

MackSolo Team Update – Day 141 ✈️ 🌍 Mack and Sharky have safely landed in #Sofia, #Bulgaria, the final stop of this around-the-world trip and home of his amazing sponsor ICDSoft!!! Wooohooooooo!!!! 💪🥳 He has now officially broken 2 Guinness World records 🏆🏆: 1. Youngest person to fly around the world solo. Previous record holder: Travis Ludlow 2. Youngest person to fly around the world solo in an Ultra Light aircraft. Previous record holder: Flyzolo (Zara Rutherford) Let us give you a few statistics about this epic #journey: * Total time of circumnavigation: 142 days – 5 months and 1 day. His sister Zara took 5 months and 2 days * Total distance: 29225nm (54124km) * Total time in the air: 221 hours * Takeoffs/landings: 68 * Longest flight: 10 hours Japan-USA * Longest flight over water: 10 hours Japan-USA * Highest altitude: 12500ft Mexico * Continents visited: 4 * Countries visited: 30 * Highest temperature: +48C * Lowest temperature: -12C * Age at time of record: 17 years, 2 months and 2 days/current record holder, Travis Ludlow: 18 years and 5 months (150 days) – Mack breaks the record by approx 1 year and 3 months * Aircraft: Shark Aero, one of the fastest ultralight aircraft in the world (up to 300 km/h), designed in the Czech Republic and manufactured in Slovakia. Thank you everybody for all your help, enthusiasm all along the trip!!! ➡️ Keep following this channel!!!! we will post much more footage and details of the trip as it becomes available to us!

Posted by Macksolo on Wednesday, August 24, 2022

“Just follow your dreams, no matter how old you are – work hard and move forward to achieve your goals,” he said after he stepped out of the aircraft.

His sister, Zara, who finished her own global flight in January at age 19, previously held the ultralight record. Mack Rutherford took the age record from Travis Ludlow of Britain, who was 18 when he made a solo flight around the world last year.

The journey, which began March 23, took Rutherford through 52 countries over five continents. He turned 17 during the trip. To set a mark recognized by the Guinness World Records, he crossed the equator twice.

According to his Facebook page, the flight lasted 142 days, covering 33,631 miles (54,124 kilometers) and 221 total hours in the air. Rutherford registered 68 takeoffs and landings and the highest altitude he reached was 12,500 feet over Mexico.

Born into a family of aviators, Rutherford qualified for his pilot’s license in 2020, which at the time, made him the youngest pilot in the world at the age of 15.

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


His solo trip flying around the world kicked off in Bulgaria because his sponsor, the web hosting company ICDSoft, is headquartered in Sofia and loaned him the plane.

Like his sister, Rutherford flew a Shark, one of the fastest ultralight aircraft in the world with a cruising speed reaching 186 mph. Normally a two-seater, it was modified for his long journey by replacing the second seat with an extra fuel tank.

Initially planned to take up to three months, the trip lasted longer because of several unexpected obstacles along his way, including monsoon rains, sandstorms and extreme heat.

But most of the delays were caused by waits to obtain permits and other documents required for further flight or having to alter the scheduled route if they were rejected.

The flight took him through Africa and the Gulf region to India, China, South Korea and Japan. He crossed the northern Pacific and landed after 10 uninterrupted hours in the air on a volcanic island near the Bering Strait.

From there, he headed to Alaska and down the West Coast of the United States to Mexico. Rutherford then headed north again along the U.S. East Coast to Canada, and across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe.

On Wednesday, a huge crowd of people had arrived at the airport to welcome Rutherford and to celebrate his achievements. Among them were the three members of his immediate family.

His father, Sam Rutherford, said he was extremely happy and proud of his children’s achievements. He told reporters that such an event is especially encouraging for children to follow their dreams and parents to support them in their endeavors.

His sister, Zara Rutherford, said she kept in close touch with her younger brother during his journey.

“While he was flying, I constantly tried to keep in touch and help him. Our parents called him every day, and I joined in those conversations. I gave him advice on the route, on the flight, so that I could be useful to him,” she said.

Mack Rutherford said he will now focus on his education.

“The next thing I’m going to do is to go back to school and catch up as much as I can,” he said.