VIDEO: 16-year-old British-Belgian schoolboy, Mack Rutherford, who is on a quest to become the youngest person to fly around the world solo, lands his small plane in Kenya's capital, Nairobi KossyDerrickBlog KossyDerrickEnt

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Friday, May 20, 2022

VIDEO: 16-year-old British-Belgian schoolboy, Mack Rutherford, who is on a quest to become the youngest person to fly around the world solo, lands his small plane in Kenya's capital, Nairobi

A 16-year-old schoolboy who is on a quest to become the youngest person to fly around the world solo, landed his small plane in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, on Wednesday.(Read More Here).

Mack Rutherford, who has British and Belgian nationality, started his journey near the Bulgarian capital Sofia in March and is looking to clinch a Guinness World record currently held by compatriot Travis Ludlow, who was 18 when he completed a circumnavigation last year.

Rutherford's journey will see him visit four more African and Indian Ocean countries, before heading to the Middle East, Asia and North America and finally returning to Europe.

Coming from a family of pilots, Rutherford first took the controls of an aircraft at the age of seven, sitting alongside his father.

At 15 he became the youngest pilot in the world and is now following in the footsteps of his older sister Zara, the youngest woman to fly around the world at age 19.

Visibility was a challenge while flying across the Sahara desert, he said, but the scenery more than made up for it.

Kenya is among the countries he paid a visit to in his quest to smash the world record. He will tour four more African and Indian Ocean countries, before heading to the Middle East, Asia and North America and finally returning to Europe.

Rutherford, according to his documented journey, stopped over at Egypt, his first entry into the African continent.

He then proceeded to Lokichogio, Turkana County after flying over the Sudanese airspace before proceeding to Nairobi.

He was welcomed in the capital with open arms by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) as well as the flying school, lots of children and 70 young aviators from The Young Aviators Club of Africa.

The plane’s manufacturer, Shark Aero, had declined to partner with Rutherford’s project as they termed his daring journey too risky.

“Mack is no doubt a skilled pilot. However, we do not feel comfortable pushing the age limit to the lowest possible point for journeys where a certain level of risk cannot be avoided,” the company said on its website.

Rutherford comes from a family of pilots who live and breathe everything aviation. He first took the controls of an aircraft at the age of seven, sitting alongside his father.

At 15 he became the youngest pilot in the world and is now following in the footsteps of his older sister Zara, the youngest woman to fly around the world at age 19.

Arguably the toughest challenge of his journey was the Sahara Desert where visibility was a stern test but the scenery edged him on until his trip to Nairobi.

“It hasn’t let me down, I’ve absolutely loved the views both around the Sahara desert and in Kenya,” he said.

“My inspiration comes from my passion for flying and also the motivation and support I receive from my family. My sister has also been a figure of inspiration as she is currently the youngest female to fly across the world,” he said.

At 16, Mack would be expected to juggle school work and his dream of flying across the world, but the teenager said that for now he is unable to concentrate on school.

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“It’s quite difficult. School right now is not really working for me. I’m going to have to catch up on it some other day, so for the next one and a half years for me I have a lot to catch up on. But all in all, it’s worth it to be out and live life,” he said.

He added: “I want to show that young people can make a difference. You don’t have to wait until you’re 18 to do something extraordinary. Just nurture your dream and you’ll get there.”

The young pilot said he has 25 more countries to visit to complete his trip around the world and that his only hope right now is that he will accomplish his mission.

“My hope and current goal is to finish this trip successfully. There is no end game. You just keep flying and doing it while loving it without placing a limit. I have 25 more countries to fly to, some of which include Zanzibar, Madagascar, Seychelles, UAE, India, Mexico, and Canada,” he said.

Mack started his journey in Sofia, Bulgaria, flying a ‘Shark’, a high-performance ultralight aircraft with a cruising speed reaching 300km/hr. He chose the plane because of its performance and adaptability, speed and flight systems.

“I chose to use a Shark because it is faster, easier and fun to use. Also in consideration, I was quite fascinated by the software and general systems as they are more advanced,” he said.

If successful, Mack will become the youngest person to circumnavigate the world alone in an aircraft. This title is now held by Travis Ludlow, who was 18 when he completed his journey last year.

Hailing from a well-off family of aviation enthusiasts, Mack started his flying journey at a tender age when he used to watch his father fly but only came close to handling a plane at age seven.

He received his flight licence aged 15, at which point he was determined to achieve more at a young age.

“I’ve been flying pretty much my whole life. At seven is when I first held a craft controller and got my licence at 15.”

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