A British-Belgian teenager became the youngest woman to fly solo around the world on Thursday and the first person to do so in a microlight plane after a five-month, five-continent odyssey in her Shark ultralight.
Nineteen-year-old Zara Rutherford landed back at Kortrijk-Wevelgem Airport in Belgium after fly-ing 51,000 km (32,000 miles) over 52 nations since her Aug 18 departure in the world’s fastest mi-crolight aircraft. Cheers and applause went up as her plane came to a halt on the tarmac.
“It’s just really crazy, I haven’t quite processed it,” Rutherford, smiling broadly and cloaked in Brit-ish and Belgian flags, told reporters.
After the penultimate leg to a German village on Wednesday, she said it was an exploit she would never repeat. After North and South America, Ruth-erford was stuck for a month in Alaska because of weather and visa delays.
A winter storm forced another long stop in far eastern Russia, before she travelled to South Asia, the Middle East and back to Europe.—AP