Nineteen-year-old MIT student Matt Guthmiller is not your average teenager. While others his age are busy hanging out with girls and generally “chilling out,” Matt has his eyes set on a world record, one that is definitely not for the fainthearted. Matt Guthmiller aims to become the youngest person ever to circumnavigate the globe on a solo flight, reports CNN. If he manages to accomplish what he has set out to do, Matt Guthmiller will break the current record held by Californian Jack Wiegand, who late last year set the record for the feat when he flew solo around the world. He was only 21 at the time.
Matt Guthmiller’s journey will involve him traveling over 29,000 miles, stopping at 14 countries on the way. There would be a total of 25 stops in 14 different countries across five continents during his month-long journey. The first leg of the trip has already started. You can track Matt’s progress using this map here. This link has the complete itinerary. You can also follow Guthmiller’s adventures on Twitter and Facebook.
As for the plane being used to accomplish the feat, it happens to be a 1981 Beechcraft A36 Bonanza — N367HP. This aircraft is a six-seater with a range of 2,800 nautical miles (3,222 miles, 5,185 kms). Its Continental 10-550-B engine is rated for 300 horsepower and the plane also features retractable landing gear.
The first leg of Matt Guthmiller’s journey took him from El Cajon, California to Aberdeen, South Dakota, where he is resting as we file this story. The next leg would take him to New York. The entire trip is estimated to be over by July 7, when Matt Guthmiller would return to Aberdeen, South Dakota — after traversing through the following places:
San Diego; Aberdeen; New York City; St. John’s, Newfoundland; the Azores; London; Rome; Athens; Mersa Matruh, Egypt; Cairo; Aswan, Egypt; Abu Dhabi; Nagpur, India; Bangkok; Manila; Darwin, Australia; Noumea, New Caledonia; Pago Pago, Samoa; Honolulu; San Diego; Las Vegas (to remove the ferry tanks); San Diego (maintenance); Seattle; Aberdeen
Matt Guthmiller, who earned his commercial pilot certificate for flying Single-engine land, Single-engine sea, Instrument airplane, and Gliders, already has over 500 hours of flying time under his belt. According to the description provided on his website dedicated to this event, Matt’s love of flying dates back to the days when he used to spend hours playing flight simulator games. However, the idea of circumnavigating the world came to him after he read an AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) article about the current record holder Jack Wiegand’s amazing feat.
“I immediately thought ‘I can do that,'” said Matt Guthmiller.
Guthmiller added that he is not doing this just to create or break a record:
“Setting a record is exciting, but records are made to be broken. My real goal is to inspire other young people to attempt things of a similar magnitude. That’s what I hope to accomplish with this flight.”
Matt Guthmiller is also donating the proceeds he receives from the flight to the organization Code.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding participation in computer science by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color.
[Images via Facebook]