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Aberdeen Teen Pilot Trying To Set World Record

June 2, 2014, 10:00 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Aberdeen Teen Pilot Trying To Set World Record
ABERDEEN, SD -

An Aberdeen teenager is trying to become the youngest person to fly solo around the world.

Matthew Guthmiller took off from the Aberdeen Regional Airport Monday after a short weekend stop at home. He started his trip around the world by air from California Saturday.

Guthmiller just finished his freshman year at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The computer science and electrical engineering major has been planning the trip for about a year.

"The biggest thing for me was finding a plane. I didn't own a plane; my parents weren't really sold on buying me a plane," Guthmiller said.

So he had to find someone who'd lease a plane to him and, at 19 years old, let him fly it around the world alone. He eventually found a willing airplane owner in San Diego.

The airplane has a new engine, new avionics and several safety features built in and on board. That helps give Guthmiller's parents some peace of mind as their son is in the middle of a 29,000 mile trip.

"The fellow we're leasing the plane from is a perfectionist, and he wouldn't let you have this plane if he didn't think you were going to bring it back," Allen Guthmiller said.

"I've learned a long time ago with Matthew, he's done a lot of different things, and worry doesn't help him and doesn't help me so I just leave him in the Lord's hands and keep praying," Shirley Gengerke Guthmiller said.

Matt Guthmiller says he isn't too nervous yet but also admits that could change.

"Once I get out over the ocean for the first time maybe that that'll change a little. But right now it seems like any other flying, just a little more and a little longer," Guthmiller said.

He's been flying for less than three years and learned to do so in Aberdeen. As he takes that skill by air around the world, Guthmiller wants to inspire others to chase big dreams, too.

Guthmiller is raising money to cover trip expenses and support a non-profit that helps provide computer science education in schools. You can learn more about that and track his trip on his website.

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