British pilot, 17, seconds from Pacific Ocean catastrophe throughout world-record bid

British pilot, 17, seconds from Pacific Ocean catastrophe throughout world-record bid


teenage pilot trying to be the youngest to fly the globe solo has revealed the “bushy second” he cheated demise on an deserted Pacific Ocean island.

Mack Rutherford took off from Sofia, Bulgaria, on March 23 this 12 months and flew to Italy and Greece, earlier than navigating Asia, Africa, the US, and two oceans.

The 17-year-old made his first return to England on Monday, touching down at London’s Biggin Hill airport having visited Scotland final weekend.

The British-Belgian teenager is within the remaining phases of his journey again to Sofia, the place his key sponsor is predicated, and he hopes to reach on August 24.

He’s aiming to beat the Guinness World Report for the youngest particular person to fly around the globe solo in a small airplane, at the moment held by Briton Travis Ludlow, who accomplished the feat aged 18 years and 150 days.

However the journey has not gone with out its challenges, together with sandstorms in Sudan, excessive warmth in Dubai, airport closures in India and plenty of technical points.

Mack Rutherford (Gareth Fuller/PA) / PA Wire

Talking to the PA information company from the south-east London airport on Monday, Mr Rutherford revealed his brush with catastrophe on an uninhabited ocean island.

“I believe the hairiest second was on the Pacific flight.

“After 10 hours, I arrived at this small island, it was beginning to get darkish so I landed and it was fairly low cloud, it was raining, it was getting fairly darkish, no lights on the runway,” {the teenager} stated.

“It’s really an uninhabited island, so if something had gone mistaken I’d be alone, on that island, so actually essential that nothing went mistaken.

“I landed there and needed to sleep in a small shed on the aspect of the runway as a result of it was utterly deserted for over 10 years.”

The encounter got here as he flew 11 hours throughout the Bering Sea, within the northern Pacific, from Japan to Alaska, US.

He has been spurred on by his sister Zara, who in January this 12 months grew to become the youngest lady to fly around the globe, aged 19.

Mack Rutherford at Biggin Hill Airport, Westerham, Kent (Gareth Fuller/PA) / PA Wire

{The teenager} has wished to be a pilot because the age of three and certified for his pilot licence in September 2020, aged 15.

His father Sam is an expert ferry pilot, and his mom Beatrice is a non-public pilot.

Reflecting on his feat, Mr Rutherford added: “It’s been an extended journey however it’s attending to the tip now, it’s been completely wonderful.

“It’s taken me everywhere in the world and locations I’ve by no means been to earlier than, and with this journey I’m additionally attempting to point out that younger folks could make a distinction, you don’t should be 18 to do one thing particular, simply comply with your desires and they’ll finally come true.”

{The teenager} is flying a Shark, a high-performance ultralight plane with a cruising pace reaching 300km/h (186mph).

The plane has been specifically ready for such an extended journey and ICDSoft, Mack’s foremost sponsor, is loaning him the airplane for the try.

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