Youngest ever circumnavigator starts and finishes journey in San Diego
Move over, Magellan; fly away, Lindbergh. A 19-year-old from South Dakota is believed to be the youngest person to pilot a plane, alone, completely around the Earth. Matt Guthmiller is his name and he has accomplished what few folks will ever even attempt, circumnavigating the globe, solo.
The travels of the sophomore engineering student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology surpassed 29,000 miles in a leased 1981 Beechcraft A36 Bonanza, custom outfitted High Performance Aircraft of El Cajon.
He started in El Cajon and first flew to his hometown of Aberdeen, South Dakota. He had graduated from high school there in 2013, but had been interested in flying since his early teens, obtaining his pilot’s licence in South Dakota when he was 16 years old.
Matt left Gillespie Field this past May 31, hoping to get back there before July 26, allowing him to break the record for youngest pilot to fly around the globe in the amount of time specified by the Guinness Book of World Records. He had applied for and received approval from Guinness officials of his plans for the flights and his record-breaking attempt. He has been told a decision on his success will be announced tomorrow, July 16. Prior to Matt, the record was held by Jack Wiegand, a 21 year old pilot, who circled the globe alone last year.
Matt Guthmiller made more than twenty scheduled stops on his journey. His mother, Shirley, reports that he visited more than a dozen separate nations on the voyage. By following his adventure through his photos and postings on social media, Matt is seen to have landed in South Dakota, England, Italy, Egypt, Abu Dhabi, India, Australia, Samoa, and finally Hawaii, before coming full circle back to San Diego. He spent time each day talking with his parents via a satellite phone.
Matt’s accomplishment has helped raise donations for Code.org, which is a nonprofit website that teaches folks how to code computer programs.