Teenage Pilot Completes Solo Flight Around the World, Turns 17 While Breaking the Record

Mack Rutherford (17) is the youngest pilot to fly solo around the world 11 photos
16-year old Mack Rutherford in Egypt16-year old Mack Rutherford Over Egypt Desert16-year old Mack Rutherford Family16-year old Mack Rutherford in Egypt16-year old Mack Rutherford16-year old Mack Rutherford and Sister Zara16-year old Mack Rutherford and Dad16-year old Mack Rutherford and DadMack and Zara Rutherford16-year old Mack Rutherford in Kenya
Many teenagers can’t be bothered with tidying up their room (not that we blame them), but there is nothing ordinary about this teenager: Mack Rutherford, a British-Belgian pilot, has officially become the youngest pilot to fly solo around the world.
If the Rutherford name rings a bell, it’s because his sister is famous for a similar feat. Earlier this year, Zara Rutherford became the youngest female pilot to fly around the world, and her record-setting trip inspired Mack to aim for comparable performance. Several months later, he is a record breaker himself, starting his solo flight at 16 and ending it five months later, after his 17th birthday. That’s one memorable way of ringing in your 17th year!

Mack took off from Sofia, Bulgaria, on March 2022, at the controls of a high-performance, ultralight Shark aircraft that cruises at 300 kph (186.4 mph). The initial plan was to cover 5 continents, but due to the developments in Ukraine and Russia, it had to be readjusted to exclude Russian airspace. The flight took five months and was not without challenges, which further pushed back the deadline, but it was eventually completed safely.

Zara was on hand at the airport to present her brother with the world record certificate, AeroTime reports. “I’m very happy to be here after five long months, but an extremely fun and cool five months,” Mack said. “It took a bit longer than I had hoped for, but it was a very exciting and interesting trip, and I don’t regret going on it.”

Mack also spoke of his mixed feelings about the trip being over and reiterated that his goal was ultimately to tell people to follow their dreams, and especially youths like himself. Age doesn’t matter with dreams, as long as you work hard and you don’t lose sight of the end goal.

Speaking of working hard, Mack had previously said he imagined for himself a career that kept him up in the air, maybe in the air force, but that he’d decided nothing yet. Now that his record-breaking flight has been completed, he will be going back to school and, this time like most teenagers, trying his best to catch up with what he missed.

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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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