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Teen attempts record-setting solo flight around the world

Posted at 11:38 AM, Jun 04, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-04 11:38:38-04

“9 hours down, 150 to go.”

It seems like any run-of-the-mill Facebook status update. But what its poster, Matt Guthmiller, is attempting is anything but routine. The 19-year-old is on a solo flight that he hopes will take him around the world.

If he completes it, he will become the youngest person ever to do so.

The “9 hours down” refers to the time it took the MIT freshman to fly Saturday from El Cajon, California, to Aberdeen, South Dakota, the first leg of his odyssey.

The “150 to go” marks the remaining hours he plans to fly over the next six weeks on a plan that will take the South Dakota native through Athens, Greece; Cairo; Bangkok, Thailand; Honolulu, Hawaii, and more.

“Setting a record is exciting, but records are made to be broken,” Guthmiller said on a website dedicated to the voyage. “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.”

If successful, Guthmiller will replace Jack Wiegand as the youngest pilot to circumnavigate the globe alone.

In June 2013, Wiegand accomplished the feat at 21, according to Guinness World Records.

On Monday, Guthmiller plans to fly to Teterboro, New Jersey, just outside of New York City, according to the flight itinerary he posted.

If all goes as planned, Guthmiller will land his 1981 prop powered Beechcraft Bonanza back in Aberdeen on July 12 — just 42 days after beginning the trip.

According to Guthmiller, the single-engine plane, which normally seats six, has a range of 2,800 nautical miles, can reach a speed of 175 knots, and has a maximum cruising altitude of 11,500 feet.