Teenagers want to be the youngest woman to fly solo around the world


The 19-year-old Belgian and British Zara Rutherford will take off from their native Belgium on August 11 to begin their round-the-world trip this month.

She wants to inspire young girls to join STEM and aviation.

“I wanted to fly around the world and get the girls to see and think about me. I want to fly someday,” she told Reuters.

Zara was in the cockpit of a light aircraft within the first few months of life. She has been traveling on small planes since the age of six and started flying at the age of fourteen. She recorded about 130 hours of solo flight.

“The whole family is a pilot. My father is a pilot, my mother is a pilot, and even my brother is a pilot. So it’s really in the family. I’ve been a father since I was born. I’m flying with my mother, so I just learned that way, “she said.

Zara flies over five continents and 52 countries on the ultralight aviation of the shark, a lightweight sports aircraft.

Zara Razaford
Zara Razaford, 19, will pose on July 26, 2021 at Popham Airfield near Winchester, England, with a shark ultralight aviation. (Gerhard Mey / Reuters)

Because the aircraft is too small to fly across the Atlantic and Pacific, she climbs Europe, crosses Greenland, crosses the Atlantic, then descends the United States, then flies to Alaska, crosses the Pacific, and then Asia. Will fly over to Europe. .. Trekking is expected to take 2-3 months.

“The moment you take off is really weird and so much fun. You know, you’re doing your checks, making sure you’re all ready. And the wheels The moment you leave the ground, it’s a completely different world, and I can’t explain it. It’s great, “she said.

Zara’s parents Beatrice De Smet and Sam Rutherford are also pilots.

“She’s been on a plane since she was about eight months old, so she crossed parts of Africa on a small plane, so she was on the plane a lot,” De Smet said.

Rutherford’s parents never go on a two- to three-month trip with their daughter, preparing for the inevitable parental nerves.

“For me, I think it’s a bag of complex emotions,” De Smet said. “I’m obviously worried, but she’s incredibly proud to do this and very aware of the risks, but I think she needs to fly away. It’s her dream and she has to live it. “

Zara Razaford
Zara Rutherford, 19, is posing for a shark ultralight aviation at Popham Airfield near Winchester, England, on July 26, 2021. (Gerhard Mey / Reuters)

When completed, Zara will be the youngest person to fly microlights around the world and the youngest woman to fly alone in the world. The current world record for the latter is held by Shaesta Waiz, who finished his journey at the age of 30.

The sky is the limit for this teenager.

Reuters contributed to this report