Teenage pilot Zara Rutherford (Belgium) has spent the last five months flying all the way around the world, by herself. ✈️🌍
At the age of 19 years 199 days, she has broken two world records:
- Youngest person to circumnavigate the world by aircraft solo (female)
- Youngest person to circumnavigate the world solo by microlight
A microlight is an ultra light aircraft with only one or two seats. Zara did an entire loop around the world in this tiny airplane! 😃
She began her epic journey on 18th August 2021 and landed back home in Belgium on 20 January 2022.
Zara hopes her accomplishment will inspire other young girls and women to choose jobs in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, as well as in Aviation (flying planes). 🧪️🤖
"Only 5% of commercial pilots are women, and 15% of computer scientists are women! That’s an extremely low number considering these are amazing careers with wonderful opportunities." – Zara Rutherford on her website
Zara’s route took her across 52 countries and 5 continents, with stops carefully planned out in advance.
Although her plane may seem small, it was specially designed to survive this incredible journey around the globe. 🌍
Zara started in Belgium, then headed west, over the UK and Iceland, towards the Americas. ✈️
After reaching South America, Zara headed north. She flew over many more countries during her trip, such as Russia, Korea, Indonesia and India, before flying back to Europe and returning home. 😎
Throughout the whole journey, Zara wasn't allowed to fly at night. 🌙
She faced many challenges along the way, including extreme weather which forced her to be grounded in Russia for a week. ❄️
However, she enjoyed spending time in each country she landed in, meeting many people along the way. 😊
Achieving this Guinness World Records title has been Zara’s goal since she first flew a plane solo at age 18. 👩✈️
"I’ve wanted to do it for a long time, but only decided to do it in May 2021!"
Zara's first time on a plane goes back to when she was only four months old. 👶
Her passion for planes seems to be genetic because everyone else in her family is also a pilot!
"Even my three years younger brother is a qualified pilot." - Zara
The youngest person to circumnavigate by aircraft solo (male) is Travis Ludlow, who was 18 years 150 days old when he completed his journey in 2021. 🤩
The previous female record holder was Shaesta Waiz (USA), who broke it in 2017 when she was 30.
During Zara’s journey, she stopped by Jacksonville, Florida to meet Shaesta, who was very supportive of Zara’s record attempt. 👍
Zara is an inspiration to young people all around the world. She is proof if you set a goal for yourself and make a plan to achieve it, the sky's the limit. ✈️ 🌍