Zara Rutherford at all times dreamed of flying solo around the globe, however she by no means thought it could truly occur. It was “costly, harmful, sophisticated, a logistical nightmare,” Rutherford told herself. Nonetheless, as she was ending college, she determined to do one thing loopy: attempt to make her dream come true. She succeeded.
Rutherford, a 19-year-old Belgian-British teen, grew to become the youngest girl to finish a solo flight around the globe on Thursday. She accomplished the journey in Shark ultralight plane, a aircraft that may attain speeds of as much as 186 miles per hour (300 kilometers per hour). In her five-month journey, she flew over 52 countries and five continents, logging roughly 32,000 miles (51,000 kilometers).
Rutherford was greeted by cheers and applause when she landed on the tarmac on the Kortrijk-Wevelgem airport in Belgium.
“It’s simply actually loopy. I haven’t fairly processed it,” she mentioned on Thursday, as reported by Reuters.
Rutherford broke the earlier document held by the Afghan-American Shaesta Waiz, the primary licensed feminine pilot from Afghanistan who made the journey when she was 30 years previous in 2017. The Belgian-British teen is just one 12 months older than Mason Andrews, the youngest male document holder for a solo flight. Andrews, additionally an American, accomplished his flight when he was 18 years previous in 2018.
Waiz congratulated Rutherford on her flight on Instagram and shared a photograph of them collectively.
“Bravo!!! I can’t wait to attach with you quickly to share my pleasure and pleasure with you,” Waiz mentioned. “I additionally can not wait to listen to your tales and power alongside your journey. You’ve got impressed so many individuals, particularly me!”
Over the course of her months-long journey, Rutherford skilled issues most of us solely see on TV or learn in books. As advised by the Guardian, she flew by means of freezing temperatures in Greenland, Alaska, and Russia; desert haze in Saudi Arabia; thunderstorms on the equator; and smog in India, to call just a few.
Throughout some moments, Rutherford felt like her life could possibly be hazard. One of many scariest experiences of her journey, she mentioned, was when she was flying to South Korea in dangerous climate whereas making an attempt to remain out of Chinese language and North Korea airspace.
“They’ve been testing missiles with no warning,” Rutherford said of North Korea. “”In the event that they see a small blip or plane on their display that’s fairly low heading in direction of their nation, it’s very doable that they might ship somebody out to take a look.”
She was not taken with that and happily managed to keep away from any bother.
Now that she’s again in Belgium, Rutherford is planning on learning electrical engineering as soon as she begins college. She hopes that her flight will encourage extra ladies to check science and engineering and provides them a task mannequin that appears like them.
“Boys study by means of toys, road names, historical past courses and flicks that they are often scientists, astronauts, CEO’s or presidents,” Rutherford wrote on her website. “Women are sometimes inspired to be lovely, type, useful and candy. With my flight I wish to present younger girls that they are often daring, bold and make their goals come true.”
She nonetheless has another huge dream left on her checklist: changing into an astronaut. With that dedication, I’m betting she makes it occur.