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17-year-old Brit breaks sister's record and becomes youngest person to fly solo round the world

Tom Wood

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17-year-old Brit breaks sister's record and becomes youngest person to fly solo round the world

A teenage pilot has become the youngest person to make a solo circumnavigation around the world in an aeroplane, and broken a world record held by his sister in the process. From the below video, you can see that he's clearly pleased with his achievement.

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That’s one way to ramp up a sibling rivalry, isn’t it?

17-year-old Mack Rutherford set the wheels of his ultralight plane down on a runway near the Bulgarian capital Sofia on Wednesday, writing his way into the history books in the process.

He’s now the youngest person ever to fly solo around the world, and the youngest person to do so in a microlight.

The person who previously held that second record was his sister Zara, who managed the same feat at the age of 19 in January.

Mack Rutherford and his family earlier in the year. Credit: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo
Mack Rutherford and his family earlier in the year. Credit: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo

The Rutherfords, who hold dual Belgian and British citizenship, certainly have pedigree when it comes to unusual adventures.

Upon his arrival back at where he started, Mack said that he hopes his story will encourage others to follow their dreams.

He said: “Just follow your dreams, no matter how old you are — work hard and move forward to achieve your goals.”

Even though his sister was having her record taken from her after only a few months, she said that she was behind him all the way.

Zara said: “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.”

The previous holder of the age record was fellow Briton Travis Ludlow, who was 18 when he circumnavigated the earth last year.

Mack’s journey took him through 52 countries and five continents in the time since he left on March 23.

During his journey, he celebrated his 17th birthday.

The young man attained his pilot’s licence in 2020, making him then youngest pilot in the world at the time.

The journey started in Bulgaria because his sponsors ICDSoft have their headquarters in the capital and had agreed to lend him the plane.

His journey took him through more than 50 countries. Credit: REUTERS/Alamy Stock Photo
His journey took him through more than 50 countries. Credit: REUTERS/Alamy Stock Photo

Incidentally, that plane is a Shark Aero, which is the world’s fastest ultralight plane, capable of speeds up to 300 kilometres per hour.

The skies have not always been clear for Mack during his journey though, with monsoons, sandstorms, and extreme heat causing some delays.

Permits and red tape has also been a factor too, causing alterations to the scheduled route or delays.

All of that went out of the window though on Wednesday, when he was welcomed back to Bulgaria by a large crowd, including members of his family.

Now, Mack has decided to head back to school and 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.

Featured Image Credit: GMB/Sky

Topics: UK News, World News, Guinness World Record

Tom Wood
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