Zara Rutherford, who hails from Belgium, has officially become the youngest person to circumnavigate the world by aircraft solo (female), completing her flight around the world at the age of 19 years and 199 days.
The historic development was shared by the Guinness World Records, stating that the teen pilot from Brussels went to amazing lengths to pursue her dreams, and completed the circumnavigation of the globe on Thursday, 20 January 2022.
During her attempt, Zara also broke the record for the youngest person to circumnavigate the world solo by microlight.
In 18th of August 2021, Zara launched on a round-the-world mission, flying solo in a tiny airplane.
Through this expedition, Zara aimed to raise media awareness for STEM-related businesses, and hopes to help reduce the gender gap in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics as well as in Aviation.
“Through my round the world trip I’m hoping to encourage other girls to start flying too or (/and) enter STEM related careers. Only 5% of commercial pilots are women, and 15% of computer scientists are women! That’s an extremely low number considering these are amazing careers with wonderful opportunities,” Zara Rutherford wrote on her website.
Zara’s route spanned across 52 countries and 5 continents, with various stops and a specially prepped aircraft to withstand the circumnavigation.
Her journey started in Belgium, then headed west. During her initial route she has travelled above UK, Iceland, Greenland, Canada, USA, Latin America to Colombia. Then, Zara headed north.
During her return trip, she has flown above Alaska, Russia, Korea, Indonesia, India, the Middle East, and landed in Belgium, Europe, after six long months.
With her success, 19-year-old Zara closes the age gap with the current holder of the Guinness World Records title for youngest person to circumnavigate by aircraft, solo, Travis Ludlow.
Travis was 18 when, in 2021, he completed his solo flight and earned the record title.