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MIT student set to complete solo flight around the world

Rising MIT sophomore Matthew L. Guthmiller ’17 is on his way to becoming the youngest person ever to fly solo around the world. On May 31, he took off from El Cajón, California, beginning a 26,600-mile journey that will take him to five continents and possibly secure him the world record.

With his flight, Guthmiller hopes to raise $250,000 in donations from family members and corporate and private sponsors for Code.org, a nonprofit working to get computer science included as a core part of national K-12 curricula. But his biggest goal for the journey, he said in an interview with NBC News, is to “inspire other people to go shoot for really big things.”

Guthmiller’s time-to-beat was set by Australian Ryan Campell, who completed a global circuit when he was 19 years, seven months, and 25 days old — an age Guthmiller will reach on July 24. His current itinerary has him back to El Cajón on July 11.

Guthmiller is flying a leased 1981 Beechcraft A36 Bonanza: a six-seat, single engine plane. Guthmiller created the flight plan himself, planning a route around the world whose many stops include England, Greece, Egypt, and India for a total flight time of 168 hours.

Currently, Guthmiller is heading back to the United States via Hawaii — his final stop before returning to El Cajón and hence completing his journey.

—Katherine Nazemi