On Saturday 16th July 2022, Mack Rutherford, a 16-year old British-Belgian pilot, landed his plane in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Mack is attempting to beat the Guinness World Record as the youngest person to fly around the world solo in a small plane. During his journey, he meets young people like himself who do amazing things and make a difference.
He was welcomed upon arrival at Chiang Mai International Airport, by British Honorary Consul, Ben Svasti Thomson MBE. Also present were students from local schools and flying clubs eager to talk to Mack and learn about his motives and experiences and be inspired in turn.
British Ambassador, HE Mark Gooding OBE said “We’re very glad that Mack is stopping off in Thailand as part of this amazing journey. He’s an excellent showcase for the British spirit of adventure and innovation, and I’m sure he will be an inspiration to many young people all across the world. I wish him well for the rest of his travels.”
Since the age of three Mack has wanted to be a pilot. He qualified for his pilot 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. Mack has flown hundreds of hours with his dad, 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 23rd March 2022, Mack took off from Sofia, Bulgaria, the location of his sponsor, ICDSoft. 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 over a month waiting for a permit to enter Iran. He did not receive it so so continued to Pakistan, India and Thailand. Now he will fly to South Korea and hopefully Japan, but he is still waiting for the permit from the Japanese authorities. From there he will fly to Alaska and continue along the west coast of America to Mexico. Then he will head north again along the east coast to Canada, he will cross the Atlantic, stop in Iceland, the UK and finish his journey in Sofia. However, the continuation of the journey depends on the Japanese permit. Otherwise Mack will not be able to reach Alaska.
Mack, a Lower Sixth Former at Sherborne School in the UK combines the best of British creativity and adventure pushing boundaries that have never been crossed before.
He 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.
“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.” – says Mack Rutherford.
Mack was born in a family of aviators. His father Sam is a professional ferry pilot, and his mother Beatrice is a private pilot. His sister Zara is a private pilot, too, and on 20 January 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.
“I have been fortunate to have had a family that has been able to help me progress in my flying. But no matter what background you have, I believe it is never too early to work towards your dreams and you shouldn’t limit yourself by others’ expectations.” – adds Mack.
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. Mack will also become the youngest person to circumnavigate the world in a microlight, the title held currently by his sister Zara.
Just like Zara, Mack will be flying a Shark. It is 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. The aircraft has been specially prepared for such a long journey and ICDSoft, a hosting company and Mack’s main sponsor is very kindly loaning him the plane for the attempt.
Exact itinerary and further information: www.macksolo.com
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