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Teen Pilot Youngest Woman To Go Around The Globe Solo

On Thursday, teen pilot Zara Rutherford landed in Kortrijk, Belgium to officially become the first woman pilot to circumnavigate the world solo. The Belgian 19-year-old landed her single-seat Shark ultralight aircraft to cheers and honking horns from a crowd that gathered to welcome her home.

Rutherford originally embarked from Kortrijk on August 18, 155 days ago.

Upon stepping out of the cockpit, Rutherford hugged her parents and brother. She immediately received framed copies of a certificate from the Guinness Book of World Records certifying her accomplishment.

The 51,000-kilometer east-to-west journey took her across 52 countries and five continents. To meet the criteria for the flight, she touched two points opposite each other on the globe: Jambi Indonesia and Tumaco in Colombia.

She encountered the hardest challenge in flying without the aid of flight instruments or a pressurized cabin. Additionally, she also experienced issues crossing from Frankfurt, Germany back to Belgium due to snow and rain. She told reporters at certain points she had to wait a while for the weather to calm down to resume.

However, she said she is glad to be back home. And she also couldn’t wait to have her favorite sandwich from a local shop.

She further revealed that she hoped to use this experience to encourage other young girls to go into flying or study science, technology, and mathematics. She plans to go to college next September in either Britain or in the United States to study engineering.

Rutherford broke the record set by American aviator Shaesta Waiz, who set the record at the age of 30. Shaesta set her record for youngest woman to fly solo around the globe in 2017.

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