Kortrijk, Belgium-19 Year Old pilot Zara Rutherford makes history as being the first teenage woman to fly an airplane around the entire world on her own. The voyage took about 5 months of traveling and a length of over 32,000 miles, according to reporter Jody Serrano. She flew across 52 countries, starting at Belgium and working westward through Europe, North America, South America, Antarctica, Asia, Austrailia, and returning to Belgium to set the record.
“It’s just really crazy”, Rutherford explained to Reuters News Corporation. “The entire ordeal was expensive, dangerous, complicated, and a logistical nightmare. When I was applauded at the airport, I hadn’t quite processed what I had done”. She then begins describing specific obstacles along her journey, from the brutal temperatures of the Sahara desert to the frigid breeze of the Arctic caps. She also experienced numerous thunderstorms, causing her to pause her flight.
When asked what the most perilous moment of her voyage was, Rutherford replied, “Definitely refraining from the airspace in South Korea. They had been testing missiles with no warning. If they see a small blip or aircraft on their screen that’s quite low heading towards their country, it’s very possible that they would send someone out to have a look. The fact that there was rough weather did not help matters”.
Rutherford completed her journey in a Shark Ultraviolet aircraft which, according to the Shark.aero website, can reach speeds of up to 303 km/hour (188 mph). While the vehicle moved relatively sluggish compared to most aircraft carriers, the bulky nature of the aircraft allowed for safe, reliable, and lengthy travel. Rutherford also comments on the bold nature of this accomplishment and hopes that it will “encourage girl power, allowing their bold and ambitious dreams to finally come true”.
Rutherford says that she now desires to study electrical engineering when she returns to the University. She also comments that she has a dream of becoming an astronaut. “I have always been fascinated by the idea of heights and the stratosphere”, says Rutherford. “Right now, I want to focus on my studies, but I am glad I accomplished one of my goals. It was literally a ‘dream come true’ for me”. “Bravo”, concludes the reporter Rob Waiz. “You have inspired so many people, including me! I can’t wait to connect with you again soon”.