Rutherford, a teen pilot, arrives in Seoul on her quest to fly solo around the world


Rutherford, who will spend the night at a hotel before flying to Taiwan on Monday, said she intends to finish her trek by the middle of January.

Zara Rutherford, a teen pilot from Russia, arrived in Seoul on Saturday, her first stop in Asia in her quest to become the youngest woman to fly solo around the world. The 19-year-old British-Belgian set off on her 51,000-kilometer (32,000-mile) voyage in August from Kortrijk-Wevelgem Airport in western Belgium, which would take her across five continents and 52 nations, including the United States, Greenland, Russia, and Colombia. “It’s been difficult,” Rutherford said after arriving at Gimpo International Airport in her customized Shark ultralight jet, the world’s fastest microlight, from Vladivostok.

“I was stuck in Alaska for a month due to visa and weather complications,” she explained. “I was also stuck in Russia for a month due to visa and weather concerns.” “I had hoped to finish it by Christmas, but I guess that won’t happen now,” she says, “but it’ll be an adventure,” Rutherford said she has been denied access to local areas in some nations due to increased Covid-related travel restrictions.

“Seeing these places from the air is the most beautiful thing,” she explained. “Although I’m not always permitted to attend, walk around, and inspect museums and restaurants, I can always view them from the air, which is quite amazing.” Aside from breaking records, the youngster hopes that her journey would inspire girls and women to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), as well as pique their interest in aviation. Rutherford is vying for the title held by Shaesta Wais, who, at the age of 30, became the youngest woman to fly solo around the world. Mason Andrews, the youngest male record holder, was 18 years old when he set the record in 2018.

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