A 19-year old teenager is hoping to break the world record for the youngest person to fly solo around the world. Whilst others his age tend to be out partying, socialising, playing games and meeting girls, Matt Guthmiller, a first-year student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has planned to see the entire world this summer from the cockpit of his small Beechcraft A36 Bonanza, a single-engine plane, in little under 19 days and for an impressive 26,600 miles.
The plane itself was created in 1981 - a grand 14 years older than it's pilot - and is a six-seater with a range of over 3,222 miles (5,185 kilometres). It's Continental engine has 300 horsepower and the plane features retractable landing gear.
Having departed from El Cajon, just outside San Diego, Matt has stopped at Aberdeen, South Dakota - his hometown - New Jersey, Newfoundland, the Azore Islands and Biggin Hill here in the UK. There are a total of 25 stops in 14 different countries across five various continents on Matt's month-long journey, including: 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, and then finally Aberdeen, where he'll be greeted by family, friends and other hometown well-wishers.
Matt already has his commercial pilot certificate, and has an impressive 500 hours of flying time under his belt. According to his website, Matt's love of flying dates back to the days when he used to spend hours playing flight simulator fames. However, the ides of circumnavigating the world came to him after he read an Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association article about the current record holder, fellow Californian Jack Wiegand, who completed his 24,000-mile round-the-world trip at the age of 21 years and 7 days. By the time that Matt finishes, he will be 19 years and 7 months.
"œI immediately thought 'I can do that,'" said Matt Guthmiller, on reading the article.
Guthmiller added that he is not doing this just to create or break a record: "œSetting 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 is donating the proceeds he receives from the flight to the organisation Code.org, an organisation dedicated to expanding participation in computer science by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and under-represented students of colour.
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