Mack Rutherford, a British-Belgian teenage pilot, became the youngest person to fly solo around the world in a small aircraft after landing at Kondofrey airport in Radomir, near Sofia, on Wednesday.
The 17-year-old started his journey on March 23 and flew across 52 countries within five months.
During his long journey, Mack Rutherford faced several challenges, starting with flying permits; encountering sandstorms in Sudan; airport closures in India; many technical issues; and eventually a dangerous landing on an uninhabited Pacific island.
“That was definitely also a challenge because it was getting quite dark. It was not quite dark yet, but it was getting quite dark. The weather was quite bad, with low clouds and quite rainy. It’s an abandoned island, so if anything had gone wrong, I would have had no one to help me, “he said about the landing.”
The young pilot’s journey has faced more obstacles with the start of the war in Ukraine and Western sanctions, pushing Mack to fly to Japan to avoid landing in Russia.
According to him, his trip is a message to show “that young people can make a difference; you don’t have to be 18 to do something special.”
The teenager flew across five continents on a specially prepared ultralight Shark aircraft with a speed of 300 km/h.
After his arrival, the ambitious teenager was met with his sister, Zara, who is the youngest woman to fly solo around the world.
Mack has broken two Guinness World Records; one of them belonged to his sister, making him the youngest person to fly around the world solo and the youngest to circumnavigate the globe in a microlight plane.