19-year old becomes youngest woman to fly solo around the world

Posted by David Henning on 21 January 2022

Teenage pilot Zara Rutherford from Belgium has become the youngest woman at 19 years old to fly solo around the world, landing at Kortrijk-Wevelgem Airport in western Belgium on Thursday 20 January 2022.

She completed a 52 000 km journey spanning 41 countries and managed to break two Guinness World Records in the process.

Not only did she beat the record for the youngest female pilot to circumnavigate the world by 11 years, previously held by American aviator Shaesta Waiz who was 30 at the time, Rutherford also holds the record as the first woman to circumnavigate the world in a microlight aircraft.

She also broke the national record, as the first Belgian to fly around the world alone. According to The Guardian, Rutherford started flying at the age of 14, and already had a dream of flying around the world back then.

‘The dream was really to fly around the world. But I always thought it was impossible: it’s expensive, dangerous, complicated, a logistical nightmare,’ she said. ‘So I never really thought about it twice. And then I was finishing school and I thought: if I am going to do something crazy with my life this is the perfect time to do it.’

Now, she plans on studying electrical engineering, but hopes that her journey would encourage more women to take up science and engineering.

Picture: Wikimedia Commons/ Megan Bowden


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