Belgian-British pilot Mack Rutherford, 17, has become the youngest person to fly solo around the world in a microlight plane after ending his five month adventure by landing in Bulgaria on Wednesday.
Rutherford turned 17 while flying across the world on his own and claimed two Guinness World Records the moment he touched down in Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, according to ABC News. He also snagged the title of being the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe in a microlight plane – a title he has now taken over from his sister who was 19 when she finished her global flight in January, according to ABC News.
Rutherford was born into a family of aviators and managed to qualify for his pilot’s license in 2020 at the age of 15. That milestone moment in the young boy’s life was the beginning of many records he would set, including gaining the title of youngest pilot in the world, according to ABC News.
Rutherford’s plane was sponsored by a web hosting company called ICDSoft, which is headquartered in Sofia, Bulgaria. He began his record-setting adventure on March 23 and flew through 52 countries and over five continents, according to the outlet. Seemingly unstoppable, the young pilot crossed the equator twice in order to snag his record.
Rutherford’s plane was a Shark, which is considered to be one of the fastest ultralight aircrafts in the world, with the ability to reach speeds up to 186 mph. It was modified to include an extra tank which was installed in place of the passenger seat of the plane, according to ABC News. (RELATED: 21-Year-Old Chihuahua Breaks Record For ‘World’s Oldest Living Dog’)
The five month duration of Rutherford’s trip was initially scheduled to last only three months, but he faced setbacks with paperwork and permits during his scheduled route. He was also faced with severe weather conditions along the way, including monsoon rains, sandstorms, and extreme heat, according to ABC News.
Rutherford’s record-breaking flight included crossing the northern Pacific and landing on a volcanic island near the Bering Strait after 10 straight hours in the sky, according to the outlet. The young pilot received phone calls from his parents every day and his sister Zara joined in to offer her experience and advice along the way.
“While he was flying, I constantly tried to keep in touch and help him,” Zara said, according to ABC News. “I gave him advice on the route, on the flight, so that I could be useful to him.”