At the beginning of this year, on 20 January, Zara Rutherford astonished the world by completing her trip around the world. She is the youngest female pilot, at only 19, to fly solo around the world, as well as the first person to do so in a microlight plane. Now, her brother wants to keep world records in the family, by attempting to become the youngest male pilot to complete a solo trip around the world.
Belgian-British teenager, Mack Rutherford, is only 16, but already became the youngest pilot in the world after receiving his accreditation last year. “The first time I actually touched the controls and flew was when I was seven… Since then, my passion has grown,” he told Reuters. Mack is in the middle of his A-levels, but he is too impatient to finish the year, so he is taking a break from his studies to attempt the world record.
It’s really exciting to think that really soon I’m going to do something incredible. I’m looking forward a lot to things like the Sahara Desert, the Congolian rainforests and the Iranian mountains.Mack Rutherford for Reuters
Mack has just taken off form Sofia, Bulgaria, and before his flight he said he felt “pretty confident”. His sister fully shares this confidence, trusting her brother will complete the trip without problems: “He’s a great pilot and I know he’s able to do this”. Their parents, both of which are pilots as well, also support their son’s intention, admitting Mack has known he wants to fly from an early age.
I think what he has already is an enormous depth in terms of his ability, not just as a pilot, but actually as an aviator.Sam Rutherford, Mack Rutherford’s father
Currently, the world record for the youngest male pilot to complete a solo trip around the world is held by Briton Travis Ludlow, who was 18 when he did it, however, Mack says he is not doing this for the world record, but more to set an example of what young people can do: “I want to show that young people can make a difference… that you don’t have to be an adult to do incredible things”.
He has a similar aircraft to that of his sister’s, a Shark ultralight plane, which weighs about 325 kg and can reach a cruising speed of 300 km/h. Although Zara said, she will “be with him every step of the way”, she is not planning on actually visiting her brother during his trip.