Mack Rutherford, a 17-year-old Belgian-British pilot who is looking to set a new world record for being the youngest person to fly solo around the world, landed at the Puerto Vallarta International Airport on Tuesday.
Mack took off from Bulgaria on March 23 – at age 16 – in a Shark, an ultralight high-performance aircraft manufactured in Europe and specially prepared for such a long journey. The Shark is incredibly fast with a cruising speed reaching 300 km/h.
Actually, Mack wants to achieve two Guinness records. In addition to aspiring to be the youngest person to fly solo around the world, he wants to be the youngest to accomplish the feat in an ultralight. To meet the requirements established by the Guinness Book of World Records, Mack must visit 52 countries on five continents.
To do so, he planned a trip that would take him 155 days and a total of 51 thousand kilometers.
Before arriving in Puerto Vallarta, Mack flew from Sofia, Bulgaria, across the Mediterranean, and through the Sahara to the Congolese jungle. From there, he flew through the Seychelles and stopped on the Yemeni island of Socotra before continuing onward through Oman, the UAE, India, China, South Korea, and Japan. At the Bering Strait, he entered Alaska and then flew down the west coast of the United States to Baja California.
The last legs of his trip will take him through mainland Mexico to Texas. From there, he will visit New York and Canada. Then on to Greenland and Iceland, crossing the Atlantic to Scotland and through England to Belgium before returning to Sofia on August 24th, after five months of travel.
On Tuesday, the 126th day of his odyssey, Mack started out in Los Cabos, flew to Socorro Island, and, from there, to the Puerto Vallarta International Airport, where his plane was showered with jets of water, a customary welcome by airport personnel.
Rutherford was greeted by Mariachi playing lively music and welcomed to the city by Municipal Tourism Director Ludvig Estrada Virgen, who told him that he had arrived in one of the most symbolic states of Mexico.
He was also greeted by Joy Castelazo Rodríguez, director of the Colegio de Pilotos Aviadores de México, as well as Captain Enrique Tron Berenguer, general director of Aerotron, whose hangar in the civil aviation area of the air terminal will house the ultralight until Thursday, when Mack will depart for his next stop: Laredo, Texas.