Teen Pilot Dies While Attempting to Break World Record With Dad (VIDEO)

single-engine aircraftA teen from Indiana and his dad wanted nothing more than to set a record for an around-the-world flight. But the expedition ended in complete tragedy on Tuesday night. The aircraft flown by 17-year-old Haris Suleman went down shortly after leaving Pago Pago in American Samoa, and the teen pilot died in the plane crash, family spokeswoman Annie Hayat reported to the press yesterday. Haris' body has been recovered, but crews are currently still looking for his father, Babar Suleman, whose fate has yet to be determined. Absolutely devastating.

The father and son team had set out on June 19 in hopes of making the trip in 30 days to set the record for the fastest circumnavigation around the world in a single-engine airplane with the youngest pilot in command to do so. They also had a charitable goal in mind with the excursion, raising money for the Citizens Foundation, a nonprofit that builds schools in Pakistan.


Haris had reportedly been flying with his dad since he was just 8 years old and had only recently acquired his pilot's license and instrument rating, which made it possible for him to fly an aircraft overseas.

Due to unforeseen circumstances (food-borne illness), the pair had actually missed their 30-day deadline, but they were planned to get back to the U.S. on Sunday. And at any rate, it sounds like they accomplished plenty, having made stops throughout Europe, Africa, Asia, and the South Pacific. Incredible.

Even more incredible, it seems, is the devotion Babar showed to his son and the support he offered him. Not every father would be open to standing by his child as they pursued something so risky and perhaps even a bit crazy! It's certainly not easy to let a kid follow such wild and potentially dangerous dreams. But Haris' parents obviously wanted to support their son's goals. And that's most definitely something to be admired.

And despite how tragically their journey ended, it's amazing to think about what this father-son duo experienced together. How they were able to see so much of the world and spend that time together, doing something many of us could only dream of doing with our loved ones.

May this brave, beloved teen pilot rest in peace.




Image via iStock/terdonal

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