Youngest person to fly around the world solo to land in Bulgaria’s capital on August 24

Mack Rutherford, 17, is to land in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia on August 24 to complete his attempt to beat the Guinness World Record for the youngest person to fly around the world solo in a small aircraft.

Rutherford took off from Sofia – the location of his sponsor, ICDSoft – on March 23.

He headed to Italy and Greece, where he had a longer stay while obtaining the necessary permits and documents required for further flight.

From Greece, he flew to Egypt, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania and Madagascar and UAE where he stayed for morethan a month waiting for a permit to enter Iran.

He did not receive it, so he continued to Pakistan, India, Thailand and Vietnam.

From South Korea he intends to fly to Japan and to Alaska, from where he will continue along the west coast of America to Mexico.

Then he will head north again along the east coast to Canada, cross the Atlantic, stop in Iceland, the UK and complete his journey in Sofia. 

British-Belgian born Rutherford and his team have had to deal with recurrent permit and visa issues delaying his flights.

He also faced monsoon rains which soaked his aircraft and some documents on board.

In addition he has had to face sandstorms in Sudan, extreme heat in Dubai, airport closures in India and many technical issues.

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 who circumnavigated the world solo in an aircraft – this title is held currently by Travis Ludlow who was 18 at the completion of his attempt last year.

Rutherford will also become the youngest person to circumnavigate the world in a microlight, the title held currently by his sister Zara.

Mack wants to use the opportunity to meet young people around the globe who do incredible things, making a difference to their communities or even to the world, a media statement said.

“There are many people of my age who do amazing things. Often few people know about them. I am 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 got his pilot’s licence 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 Trans-Atlantic crossings.

Since he became a pilot, he has been planning his solo flight around the globe. In the meantime, his sister Zara became the youngest woman to fly around the world, which gave Mack an additional spur to set off. 

On January 20 2022, she completed her own circumnavigation of the globe, becoming the youngest woman in history who has done so and the youngest person who circumnavigated the world in a microlight

Like Zara, Mack is flying a Shark, a high-performance ultralight aircraft manufactured in Europe.

It is one of the fastest ultralight aircraft in the world with a cruising speed reaching 300 km/h.


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The Sofia Globe staff

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