A determined 19-year-old pilot put wheels down in San Diego Monday night and landed in the record books as he completed a 29,000-mile solo flight around the world – becoming the youngest person to achieve that feat.
"I guess it's good to be back," said Matt Guthmiller, a man of few words, as welcomers called for a speech.
Just over one month ago, Guthmiller took off from Gillespie Field in El Cajon, California, on his way to circumnavigate the globe.
Flying in a 1981 Beechcraft A36 Bonanza he leased, Guthmiller’s journey led him through Rome, Cairo, Abu Dhabi and other exotic locales with nothing but his thoughts to keep him company.
Now, with 14 different countries and five continents beneath his seat belt, the MIT student has fulfilled a passion he’s harbored his childhood.
Each part of the trip lasted an average of eight hours, but he wrapped up his longest leg Monday as he traveled 14.4 hours from Honolulu, Hawaii, and El Cajon. He reached Gillespie Field around 8:45 p.m.
One useful tool his family is sure to be thankful for: a flight tracker, where anyone can watch his progress online.
With this goal complete, Guthmiller should break the Guinness World Record for the youngest person to circumnavigate the world by aircraft solo. The person who formally held that record was 21-year-old Jack Wiegand, who finished his 24,000-mile trip in Fresno, Calif. last year.
But his trip had a dual purpose. Guthmiller also set out to raise money for Code.org, a nonprofit that introduces computer science in more schools, by offering ad space on his plane, clothes and website.
However his journey does not stop in San Diego. According to his website, the young pilot will be doing a bit more touring around Las Vegas and Seattle before heading back to his hometown of Abberdeen, South Dakota.