19-year old Zara Rutherford, a British-Belgian teenager, has entered the record books as the youngest female pilot to fly solo around the world.
Somewhat destined to fly, Zara is the daughter of British professional pilot Sam Rutherford and Belgian pilot Beatrice de Smet, Zara was born in Brussels.
She completed her education in Winchester, Hampshire and at 14, obtained her Private Pilots Licence (PPL).
Zara announced her plan to fly solo around the world at a press conference at Popham airfield in July 2021 and set off just under a month later on the 18th August 2021 from Kortrijk-Wevelgem Airport in Belgium.
The route took her across the UK, to Greenland, the East Coast of the US, across the Caribbean and South America before heading up the US West Coast to Alaska.
After a short stop for a Visa, she continued her flight across the Bering Straits to Russia then into Asia stopping at countries including Japan, Singapore and Malaysia before heading up across India and Egypt to enter Europe.
European stops included Crete, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Germany.
She finished her journey on 20th January 2022 back at the Belgian airport she departed from just after 1 pm.
On completion, Zara said there have been “amazing moments” during the flight. She said the hardest part of the flight was over Siberia saying “because it was just extremely cold. It was minus 35 degrees on the ground … If the engine were then to stop, I’m hours away from rescue and I don’t know how long I could survive.”
In total, Zara flew her Shark Aero microlight a total of 28,100 nautical miles in what was a huge achievement by anyone standards.
You can find out more about Zara’s flight here https://flyzolo.com