19-year-old Belgian-British aviator Zara Rutherford’s solo flight around the world in 155 days deserves to be celebrated
Young ladies are truly dominating on the record breaking stage right now and aside from 25-year-old Hollie Doyle’s remarkable 2,522/1 win at Kempton Park last year, this morning’s news that 19-year-old Zara Rutherford had become the youngest female pilot to fly solo around the world is to be celebrated.
Born in Brussels to a British professional pilot father, Sam Rutherford, and a Belgian recreational pilot and lawyer Beatrice de Smet, this St Swithun’s School, Winchester educated teenager spent five months between 18th August 2021 and 20th January 2022 circumnavigating the world in a microlight.
Aside from being delayed by the acrid smoke of wildfires in California at the start of her journey and G-force turbulence along the way, this modest to her core girl raced against time and the weather on her journey to success.
Of her experiences in her two-seater microlight, Zara Rutherford told The Guardian’s Jennifer Rankin:
“It’s about living in the present; the next five, 10 minutes, rather than the next four hours, because in four hours the weather can change.”
“For my whole trip around the world it uses the same amount of fuel as a Boeing does in about 10 minutes, so although it has a negative impact, it’s not as big as it seems at first glance. And I was also doing some carbon offsetting.”
“It was good to have things I was familiar with, because especially in Siberia, Saudi Arabia and most of Asia, everything was so different, the culture, the climate the people – everyone was very generous and very kind, but I felt so, so far away from home, so having music I could sing along to was really helpful.”
“Aviation is a very big industry and it’s not going anywhere. As we go towards electric aircraft, we will continue to need pilots, so I am hoping to get more women involved.”
Good lass. Well done.