Meet the 17-year-old about to become the youngest person to fly around the world solo

A British 17-year-old is nearing the final leg of his five-month adventure to become the youngest person to fly around the world solo.

Mack Rutherford set off on the daredevil mission from an air base in Sofia, Bulgaria in March.

If successful, he will clinch a Guinness World record currently held by fellow Brit Travis Ludlow, who was 18 when he completed the mission last year.

His sister Zara Rutherford, 19, became the youngest woman to fly around the world solo when she finished a similar mission earlier this year and still holds the title.

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He is due to land in the UK at Biggin Hill Airport, Westerham, next Monday (Tuesday NZT). The teen is set to return to his starting point in Bulgaria – and complete his mission – next Wednesday.

Over his five-month trip, Mack headed from Bulgaria to Cagliari in Sardinia, on to Africa, visiting Congo, Madagascar and Mauritius.

Mack Rutherford has dual British-Belgian nationality and was born into a family of aviators.

Valentina Petrova / AP

Mack Rutherford has dual British-Belgian nationality and was born into a family of aviators.

He then headed north to UAE, to India, China, South Korea and Japan, before flying to Alaska and continuing along the west coast of America to Mexico.

Mack then flew north again along the east coast to Canada, crossing the Atlantic, and will now be stopping in Iceland before the UK.

Throughout his trip, he has faced sandstorms in Sudan, Dubai’s extreme heat, airport closures in India and electrical failures in the system which pumps his reserve fuel to the aircraft’s main tanks.

Mack, who attends boarding school in Dorset, and has dual British-Belgian nationality, was born into a family of aviators.

His father Sam is a professional ferry pilot, his mother Beatrice is a private pilot.

Mack has been flying a Shark - a high-performance ultralight aircraft manufactured in Europe.

Valentina Petrova / AP

Mack has been flying a Shark – a high-performance ultralight aircraft manufactured in Europe.

Mack, who lives on the outskirts of Brussels, Belgium, said: “I have been fortunate to have had a family that has been able to help me progress in my flying.

” But no matter what background you have I believe it is never too early to work towards your dreams and you shouldn’t limit yourself by others’ expectations. “

Mack has wanted to be a pilot since aged three and qualified for his pilot license in September 2020. At the time, this made him the youngest pilot in the world, aged 15 years and two months.

He has flown hundreds of hours with his dad and the flights included two Trans-Atlantic crossings.

Just like sister Zara, Mack has been flying a Shark – a high-performance ultralight aircraft manufactured in Europe.

It is one of the fastest ultralight aircraft in the world with a cruising speed reaching 300km / h.

The aircraft had been specially prepared for such a long journey and ICDSoft, a hosting company and Mack’s main sponsor, loaned him the plane for the attempt.

– SWNS via AP