UAE: Teenager attempting to break world solo flight record lands in Dubai

16-year-old Mack Rutherford has already covered 13 out of the 30 countries along his route


Nandini Sircar

Published: Fri 3 Jun 2022, 2:15 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Jun 2022, 10:49 PM

Mack Rutherford, a British-Belgian 16-year-old, who is attempting to break the current world record for the youngest person to fly solo around the world, arrived in Dubai on Friday morning at the Jetex VIP Terminal.

Smiling confidently, the teenager who flew in from Muscat, walked into the lounge wearing a bottle green flight suit after ascending and repositioning his two-seater single prop ultralight aircraft and clearing immigration.

"This was a very short journey, about an hour," said Rutherford, who spoke to Khaleej Times exclusively after disembarking.

"I'm very happy to be here. It's amazing to see the welcome they've given me here in Dubai."

Having flown to 13 out of the 30 countries that he intends to cover, he will now fly to "Iran, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Japan, then I'll fly to the US and Mexico and then across those to Canada, Greenland, Iceland, UK, Belgium and Bulgaria where I started."

The teenager has already overcome several impediments that he navigated with his calm demeanour and focus.

"There was a bit of poor visibility over the Sahara. It's all the dust and sand that go into the air, which makes it quite difficult. I had some high mountains with quite low clouds over Nairobi and Antananarivo, which made it quite difficult, but if you're concentrating, it is completely fine," says the teenager, who loves music, especially while dealing with stressful situations.

"I've had quite a few points where I haven't been able to contact anyone until very close to the airport. I remember when I was flying to my first stop in Kenya, I didn't speak to them (air traffic control) until I was close to the runway. I could see the runway and then I started speaking to them. So, it was getting late. I've had lots of long water journeys, which in themselves aren't necessarily challenges, but if anything goes wrong, it can be very difficult to make things go right."

Rutherford hopes his voyage motivates young people to pursue their ambitions, just as his sibling Zara inspired him when she became the youngest woman to fly around the world at 19.


When asked about the belongings he needs for proposed four-month voyage, he says, "In my backpack, I'm carrying clothes. I have a second set of flight suits. I also have normal clothes in my backpack. I'm also carrying charges from iPhones and adapters and things like that. I have portable toothbrush, toothpaste, and those necessary things."

"But then there's also a flying thing…. I have two Iridium Go, which are little boxes which allow me to keep my phones connected everywhere. It takes a bit of space. I have a yellow thing which is called 'yellow brick' which gives people my location."

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