Zara Rutherford lands in Wevelgem airport in Belgium on January 20 after flying solo around the world.

Zara Rutherford became the youngest woman to fly solo around the world in January.
She wants more women to feel like they could pursue careers in aviation.
“It’s hard for a girl to see themselves in this field,” Rutherford told Insider.

A 19-year-old woman who flew a plane around the world said she embarked on her epic journey to encourage more women and girls into careers in aviation and related fields.

Zara Rutherford became the youngest woman to circumnavigate the world solo in January. She is also the first person to fly around the world in a microlight plane.

The record had been held by Shaesta Waiz, who completed a trip around the world aged 30 in 2017.

Speaking to Insider at the European business aviation convention last month, Rutherford said she didn’t see many female pilots growing up and didn’t feel like she could talk about aviation with friends at her all-girls school. 

“It was quite discouraging. Only 5% of commercial pilots are women, it’s hard for a girl to see themselves in this field,” she said. 

Rutherford, whose parents are both pilots, already had some international flying experience.

Problems meant the journey took longer than anticipated 

After starting in Belgium, she headed west towards north and south America before heading for Russia and Siberia.

Rutherford told Insider she originally intended to spend one night with a family in Alaska, but ended up staying for a month after her Russian visa expired and turbulent weather ruled out flying. 

The 19-year-old said the flights from Alaska and over Siberia were the most difficult because “every single flight something went wrong,” adding that she found it difficult to mentally “reset” after each flight.

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Flying between the Russian cities of Anadyr and Magadan was also challenging because there was “just nothing” there apart from a weather station reporting temperatures of minus 35 degrees Celsius, Rutherford said.

“I was nervous because every single thing had to go perfectly – the weather had to be perfect, the wind had to be perfect, or I would run out fuel.” 

Fuel levels meant turning back was often not an option, she added.

Rutherford finished where she began at Kortrijk-Wevelgem airport in Belgium on January 20 after five months travelling the world.

‘People keep asking me what’s next’
Zara Rutherford is the youngest woman to fly solo around the world.

The pilot has hopes to stay in aviation, but also plans to go to university. 

Reflecting on her flights around the world, Rutherford said she does not see her experience as something she needs to personally “beat.” 

“People keep asking me what’s next. Flying around the world is tough to beat, but I don’t see it like that. Whether it’s flying around the world, or running a marathon, or even just overcoming a small challenge – you can’t really compare them,” Rutherford told Insider. 

“Even if you could, I would argue flying around the world and solving a maths problem I’ve had hours of difficulty with … …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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