Zara Rutherford

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Zara Rutherford
Zara Rutherford 2021-01-18.jpeg
Zara Rutherford in 2021
Born (2002-07-05) 5 July 2002 (age 19)[1]
Brussels, Belgium
NationalityBelgian, British
EducationSt Swithun's School, Winchester
Known forYoungest female pilot to fly solo around the world
Websiteflyzolo.com

Zara Rutherford (born 5 July 2002) is a Belgian-British aviator. At age 19, she became the youngest female pilot to fly solo around the world and the first person to complete a circumnavigation in a microlight aircraft after a five-month journey which began in Kortrijk, Belgium, on 18 August 2021, and ended on 20 January 2022.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Zara Rutherford was born in Brussels, Belgium, to British professional pilot Sam Rutherford and Belgian recreational pilot and lawyer Beatrice de Smet.[4] As a young girl, Rutherford would accompany her father, sometimes flying part of the way herself.[4] At the age of 14, she began training to become a pilot and gained her pilot's license in 2020.[5] She completed her A levels in Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Economics and Physics at St. Swithun's School, a girls' school in Winchester, Hampshire, England.[5][6]

Solo flight around the world[edit]

A Shark.Aero Shark UL plane similar to the one flown by Zara Rutherford.

On 26 July 2021, at a press conference at Popham Airfield near Winchester, Rutherford announced her bid to become the youngest female pilot to fly solo around the world, at the age of 19.[7] She aimed to break the record previously set by American pilot Shaesta Waiz, who achieved the record in 2017 at the age of 30.[4][5][7] Aside from this record, she also attempted to break two other records—to become the first woman to circumnavigate the world in a microlight aircraft and the first Belgian to circumnavigate the world solo in a single-engine aircraft.[8][9] The record-breaking attempt was also meant to raise awareness about the gender gap in fields like science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and aviation, and to inspire more women and girls to be involved in STEM fields early.[4][9] Her attempt was supported by main sponsor ICDSoft, a Bulgarian web hosting service,[10] Richard Branson's Virgin Group,[11] Belgian start-up SafeSky, and Dutch staffing and recruitment company TMC Group.[12] She also partnered with charities Girls Who Code and Dreams Soar, which aim to inspire and help women and girls to enter into STEM fields.[9][11]

Rutherford began her solo attempt from Kortrijk-Wevelgem Airport in Belgium on 18 August 2021 aboard a Shark UL aircraft,[8][9] which was loaned to her by the Slovakian manufacturer Shark.Aero.[4][5][7] From Kortrijk, she flew to Popham Airfield where she spent an hour before flying to Wick in Scotland via Aberdeen.[13][14] The following day, she landed in Reykjavík, Iceland, after a five-hour flight.[15]

After starting her journey, Rutherford made stops in Greenland, Canada, the East Coast of the United States, The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, British Virgin Islands, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, the West Coast of the United States, and the US state of Alaska.[16] After arriving in Nome, Alaska, on 30 September 2021, she was forced to wait a week for her Russian visa to be renewed. By the time her passport arrived back from the Russian consulate in Houston, Texas, the weather had turned bad and she had to wait another three weeks before she could cross the Bering Strait, time spent in part carrying out maintenance.[17] On 1 November 2021, she finally reached Anadyr, Russia—the halfway point of her journey.[18] From Anadyr, she flew to Magadan on the following day, and on 9 November, she stopped at Ayan—a town with only 800 people, none of whom spoke English, and which had no Wi-Fi service—where she was stuck again due to a winter storm.[17][19] She finally reached Khabarovsk on 30 November and Vladivostok on 2 December.[16]

After flying from Russia on 11 December 2021, Rutherford intended to make stops in China,[20] but because of the country's strict COVID-19 restrictions she was forced to make a detour over the Sea of Japan and fly to South Korea instead.[17] During the six-hour flight, she had difficulty contacting air traffic controllers in Seoul and she sought the help of a KLM commercial pilot who forwarded her messages to air traffic control and helped her find the correct frequencies.[21][22] She landed in Gimpo on the same day.[22][23][24] On 13 December, she departed for a stop at Muan before flying the following day to Taipei, Taiwan.[25][26] On 16 December, Rutherford landed in Clark, Pampanga, in the Philippines.[27] She intended to make a second stop in Dumaguete but had to fly the following day to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, so as to avoid the approaching Typhoon Rai.[19][28]

From Kota Kinabalu, she made stops in Ketapang and Jakarta in Indonesia and Seletar in Singapore.[16] During the flight to Banda Aceh on 27 December, she flew too close to a thunderstorm and saw lightning bolts some 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) from her.[17][29] After Banda Aceh, she made stops in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and Coimbatore, India.[30][31] After stopping for the New Year in Mumbai,[17] Rutherford began 2022 with stops in Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates[29] and in Riyadh and Tabuk in Saudi Arabia where she was welcomed by Saudi prince and former pilot and astronaut Sultan bin Salman Al Saud.[32] After a stop in Alexandria, Egypt, on 8 January 2022, she arrived at Heraklion on the Greek island of Crete for another stop.[16]

Rutherford made stops in Sofia, Bulgaria, on 14 January 2022; in Senica, Slovakia; and in Benešov, Czech Republic, on 16 January.[16] She landed at Frankfurt Egelsbach Airport, Germany, on 19 January. Arriving in Kortrijk, Belgium, on 20 January 2022, she completed a circumnavigation of the world and landed at the same airport from which she began the trip.[16] Zara is a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 838 in Racine, Wisconsin.

After the solo flight[edit]

On March 23rd, 2022 Zara's younger brother, Mack Rutherford at the age of 16, began his own round-the-world trip on an ultralight aircraft.[33] Zara's brother is on a quest to be the youngest person to fly around the world and is looking forward to steal the Guinness World record held by compatriot Travis Ludlow.[34]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Youngest person to circumnavigate the world by aircraft solo (female)". Guinness World Records. Archived from the original on 22 January 2022. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  2. ^ "Teenage pilot Zara Rutherford completes solo round-world record". BBC News. 20 January 2022. Archived from the original on 20 January 2022. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  3. ^ Levaux, Christian; Cotton, Johnny (20 January 2022). "British-Belgian teen becomes youngest woman to fly solo round the world". Reuters. Archived from the original on 20 January 2022. Retrieved 21 January 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e Ives, Mike (25 August 2021). "Teenage Aviator Aims to Be Youngest Woman to Circle the Globe Solo". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 25 August 2021. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  5. ^ a b c d "Teenage pilot Zara Rutherford begins solo round-world record bid". BBC News. 18 August 2021. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  6. ^ "Zara Embarks On World Record Flight Attempt". St Swithun's School. 18 August 2021. Archived from the original on 19 December 2021. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  7. ^ a b c PA Media (26 July 2021). "Student, 19, hopes to be youngest woman to fly solo around the world". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  8. ^ a b El-Bawab, Nadine (15 December 2021). "Zara Rutherford tries to break record for youngest pilot to fly solo around the world". ABC News. Archived from the original on 18 December 2021. Retrieved 18 December 2021.
  9. ^ a b c d Cairns, Rebecca (18 August 2021). "This teenage aviator hopes to be the youngest woman to fly solo around the world". CNN. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  10. ^ "ICDSoft Is the Main Sponsor of a World Record Attempt". www.icdsoft.com. 14 August 2021. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.,
  11. ^ a b Branson, Holly (12 August 2021). "Supporting Zara Rutherford's solo flight around the world". Virgin Group. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  12. ^ "People Fly Technology - Fly Solo Around The World". tmc-employeneurship.com. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  13. ^ Ashworth, James (18 August 2021). "Zara Rutherford lands at Popham Airfield in record attempt". www.basingstokegazette.co.uk. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  14. ^ Hendry, Alan (20 August 2021). "Zara heading for Greenland in aviation record bid after stopping off in Wick". www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  15. ^ @fly.zolo (20 August 2021). "Made it to Iceland! 5 hour flight over water and due to clouds I was stuck at 1500 feet (500 metres) the whole way… Was amazing seeing the volcano and getting so close". Retrieved 10 January 2022 – via Instagram.
  16. ^ a b c d e f "Arrivals Board". FlyZolo.com. Archived from the original on 26 July 2021. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  17. ^ a b c d e Pop, Valentina (7 January 2022). "A teen pilot flies around the world and into the record books". The Financial Times. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  18. ^ Wildes, Michael (3 November 2021). "Pilot Attempting Around-the-World Flight Hits Halfway Point". www.flyingmag.com. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  19. ^ a b De Abreu, Kristine (16 December 2021). "Zara Rutherford Hurries to Malaysia Ahead of Super-Typhoon". explorersweb.com. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  20. ^ Ives, Mike (20 January 2022). "Zara Rutherford Becomes Youngest Woman to Circle the Globe Solo". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 January 2022.
  21. ^ "KLM pilot assists Belgian teenager in her bid to fly solo around the world". The Brussels Times. 12 December 2021. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  22. ^ a b "Teen solo pilot gets an assist from KLM during around-the-world flight". nltimes.nl. 12 December 2021. Retrieved 18 December 2021.
  23. ^ Orban, André (12 December 2021). "Belgian-British teenager Zara Rutherford lands in Korea on her solo world tour with the help of a KLM pilot she wants to thank". www.aviation24.be. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  24. ^ "Teen aviator Zara Rutherford lands historic flight in Seoul". CNN Travel. Archived from the original on 16 December 2021. Retrieved 18 December 2021.
  25. ^ Everington, Keoni (15 December 2021). "Teen global aviator raves about Taiwanese bubble tea". Taiwan News. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  26. ^ Lee Hsin-Yin (15 December 2021). "Female teen aviator tests mettle in round-the-world flight". Focus Taiwan. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  27. ^ Matias Pizarro, Shirley (15 December 2021). "EXCLUSIVE: Eyeing Guinness record, teen Belgian lady pilot lands at Clark Airport". Manila Bulletin. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  28. ^ Abarro, Mico (16 December 2021). "Teen aviator on record solo flight skips 2nd stop in PH". ABS-CBNnews.com. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  29. ^ a b Clarke, Kelly (4 January 2022). "Meet the teenage pilot who battled thunderstorms in her around-the-world solo flight". www.thenationalnews.com. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  30. ^ "Coimbatore-based company to sponsor British-Belgian teen pilot's bid to circle to globe". The Times of India. 31 December 2021. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  31. ^ "Elgi supports Zara Rutherford in her quest to be the youngest woman to solo circumnavigate the globe". Elgi Equipments. 30 December 2021. Archived from the original on 11 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  32. ^ "Youngest woman to fly solo around the world arrives in Saudi Arabia". Arab News. 7 January 2022. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  33. ^ https://macksolo.com/
  34. ^ Reuters, By. "Teenage pilot lands in Kenya amid record-setting flight attempt". CNN. Retrieved 20 May 2022.

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