CNN

Teenage pilot becomes youngest person to fly solo around the globe

Aug 27, 2022, 8:51 AM

Mack Rutherford, a 17-year-old British-Belgian pilot waves after he landed in Sofia-West ariport, W...

Mack Rutherford, a 17-year-old British-Belgian pilot waves after he landed in Sofia-West ariport, Wednesday Aug. 24, 2022. Rutherford has become the youngest person to fly solo around the world in a small aircraft after he landed in Bulgaria, the country where his journey kicked off five months ago. Rutherford landed on an airstrip west of Bulgarian capital Sofia on Wednesday to complete his task and to claim two Guinness World Records. (AP Photo/ Jordan Simeonov)

(AP Photo/ Jordan Simeonov)

(CNN) — A 17-year-old has become the youngest person to fly around the world solo in a small aircraft on Wednesday after first taking off on March 23, according to Guinness World Records (GWR).

British-Belgian national Mack Rutherford touched down earlier in the day in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, where his journey began, according to Rutherford’s official website and GWR. He first set off when he was still 16.

Rutherford’s route spanned 52 countries across five continents on a specially prepared ultralight Shark aircraft with cruising speed reaching 300 km/h, according to his website.

“I want to use the opportunity to meet young people on my route who do incredible things, making a difference to their communities or even to the world,” he wrote before jetting off.

His journey was tracked on his website, which shows he set off from Bulgaria towards the Mediterranean then through the Sahara, onwards through the Middle East and then East Asia.

He smashed two world records, previously held by his older sister Zara Rutherford, as the youngest person to fly around the world solo and also the youngest person to do so in a microlight aircraft, the GWR website states.

He entered his last leg through the United States, Canada and Mexico before flying back through Europe and landing in Sofia.

Inspired to fly by his family, the teenager was just 15 years old when he received his first pilot’s license, becoming the youngest pilot in the world.

“When I was 15, I got my license and was the youngest in the world at that point. And then when my sister flew around the world, I thought, well, there’s something I can actually try to strive for and achieve,” he told CNN earlier in August.

His journey even took him to a remote island in the North Pacific, after strong headwinds forced him to land during a flight from Japan to the United States.

“I had a few Oreos for supper and then went to bed in a small shed — but that was definitely an amazing experience,” he told CNN.

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Teenage pilot becomes youngest person to fly solo around the globe