When you’ve got an amazing older sister as a role model, you tend to set your sights just a little bit higher.
In January 2022, the now 17-year-old Mack Rutherford watched his 19-year-old sister, Zara Rutherford, set two new world records for flying around the world in an ultralight aircraft. Less than a month later, Mack declared his intention to go for a world record too!
“I always knew I wanted to do something special in my life in aviation but I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do, it was only when my sister flew around the world that I knew this was what I wanted to do,” Mack told the BBC.
Mack is no stranger to blazing trails in aviation. He was only 15 when he became the youngest pilot in the world. Now, he’s set the record for the youngest person to fly around the world, unseating previous record-holder Travis Ludlow of Britain. Travis was 18 when he set the record in 2021.
Mack’s journey began on March 23rd, 2022 when he left Sofia, Bulgaria flying a Shark, an ultralight aircraft that’s the same style his sister used in her circumnavigation of the globe.
“I am flying a Shark,” Mack wrote on his website. “It is a high-performance ultralight aircraft manufactured in Europe. It is incredibly fast with cruising speed reaching 300 km/h. The aircraft has been specially prepared for such a long journey.”
Mack traveled through 52 countries over five continents. He crossed the equator twice, which is a requirement to obtain the Guinness World Record. The trip was supposed to take between two and three months, but paperwork and visa issues slowed his progress.
On August 24, 2022, Mack completed his journey and set not one, but two new world records! He’s now the youngest person to fly around the world solo, and the youngest person to fly around the world solo in an ultralight aircraft. He displaced his sister as the previous record holder, but we’re sure there are no hard feelings!
As Mack stepped out of the aircraft in Belgium, he had some simple words of wisdom to offer the world.
“Just follow your dreams, no matter how old you are — work hard and move forward to achieve your goals,” he said.
Way to go, Mack! What an amazing accomplishment, especially for someone who hasn’t even finished high school yet. We can’t wait to see how high this young pilot goes next.
Don’t forget to share this story to encourage the young people in your life to fly high.
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