Zara Rutherford hailed youngest female to fly solo around the globe

Aviation Updates Philippines – British-Belgian national Zara Rutherford became the youngest female person to circumnavigate the world solo, after she landed at the Kortrijk-Wevelgem Airport, Belgium on Thursday, January 20, 2022.

"I made it," teen pilot Zara Rutherford arrives in Belgium; becomes the youngest female to fly solo around the world. Photo by John Thys, Agence France-Presse.

The 19-year-old pilot began her journey on August 18, 2021, flying a Shark Aero Shark aircraft with registry OM-S443. She traversed 52 countries in five continents, spanning approximately 32,000 miles in distance.

"With this successful circumnavigation, I am happy not only to break the Guinness World Record of youngest woman flying solo around the world, but also to reduce the gender gap by 11 years between the current youngest male record holder Travis Ludlow, 18 at the time of his record, and the previous female record  holder Shaesta Waez, who was 30 when she completed her “Dreams Soar” around-the-world flight," she said in her website.

On December 15, 2021, Rutherford arrived at Clark International Airport, Philippines from Taipei, Taiwan. The planned technical stop in Dumaguete was cancelled due to Typhoon Odette.

Defying various challenges and weather disruptions, Rutherford completed her journey after 155 days. 

She aims to raise awareness for girls to enter STEM-related careers, her website states.

"Not only am I hoping to reduce the gender gap in Aviation and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), but also to encourage girls and young women to pursue their dreams."