Mack Rutherford, 17 touched down in Bulgaria on Wednesday to become the youngest person to fly solo around the world in a small aircraft — breaking his sister’s record. The circumnavigation, which began March 23, took Mack through 52 countries and across five continents. He turned 17 during the trip. To set a mark recognized by the Guinness World Records, he crossed the equator twice. Born into a family of aviators, Mack qualified for his pilot’s license in 2020, which at the time, made him the youngest pilot in the world, at the age of 15. His solo trip flying around the world kicked off in Bulgaria because his sponsor, the web hosting company ICDSoft, is headquartered in Sofia and lent him the plane. Like his sister, Mack flew a Shark Aero, one of the fastest ultralight aircraft in the world with a cruising speed reaching 186 miles per hour. Normally a two-seater, it was modified for his long journey by replacing the second seat with an extra fuel tank. He is the youngest person to fly around the world by himself and the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe in an ultralight plane. His sister, Zara, who finished her own trip global flight in January at 19, previously held the ultralight record.
Mack, a joint British-Belgian national, said he hoped his achievement would inspire young people to pursue their dreams. “Just follow your dreams, no matter how old you are — work hard and move forward to achieve your goals,” he said. His sister said she was one of his biggest fans, even as he tried to take her record. “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,” she said. Mack took the age record from Travis Ludlow of Britain, who was 18 when he made a solo flight around the world last year. Rutherford said he always wanted to do something special with his flying career, but it wasn’t until his sister made history that he knew he wanted to attempt the same. “I definitely think a lot of my inspiration for wanting to fly across the world comes from my sister,” he said.
Initially planned to take up to three months, the trip lasted two months longer because of several unexpected obstacles along his way, including monsoon rains, sandstorms, extreme heat and administrative snafu’s in several countries. The flight took him through Africa and the Gulf region to India, China, South Korea and Japan. He crossed the northern Pacific and landed after 10 uninterrupted hours in the air on a volcanic island near the Bering Strait. From there, he headed to Alaska and down the west coast of the US to Mexico. Rutherford then headed north again along the US east coast to Canada, and across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. On Wednesday, a huge crowd of people had arrived at the airport to welcome Rutherford and to celebrate his achievements. Among them were the three members of his immediate family.
A passenger cornered a pilot on the terminal and asked, “How can you fly the plane at night?” The pilot explained, “There is a red light on the left wing and a green light on the right wing and a white light on the tail. All I have to do is keep the airplane between the lights.”
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Which is handy, because she’s not allowed to drive.
An airline pilot wrote that on this particular flight he had hammered his ship into the runway really hard. The airline had a policy which required the first officer to stand at the door while the passengers exited, smile, and give them a “Thanks for flying our airline.” Finally, everyone had gotten off except for a little old lady walking with a cane. She said, “Sir, do you mind if I ask you a question?” “Why, no, Ma’am,” said the pilot. “What is it?” The little old lady said, “Did we land, or were we shot down?”
Flying home from a visit to my daughter in Albany, New York we encountered a lot of turbulence. The pilot, reassuring us that we would shortly fly above the rough weather, reminded us to keep our seatbelts fastened and remain in our seats. Soon after, he got back on the intercom, lifted the restrictions and said, “If you wish, you may now unfasten your seatbelts and walk around a bit, but stay inside.”
August 4th Birthdays
1989 – Kelly O’hara, 1996 – Bruna Marquisne, 1994 – Megan Reinkes, 1984 – Greta Gerwig
1901 – Louis Armstrong, 1956 – Billy Bob Thornton, 1962 – Roger Clemens, 1971 – Jeff Gordon