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Teenage aviator Zara Rutherford lands a historic flight to Seoul

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Teen pilot Zara Rutherford landed in Seoul on Saturday, December 11 from Russia, the first stop in Asia in her attempt to become the youngest woman to fly around the world alone.

In August, the 19-year-old Belgian and British woman left Kortrijk-Wevelgem Airport in western Belgium on a 51,000-kilometer journey across five continents and 52 countries, including the United States. United States, Russia and Colombia.

“It’s been a challenge,” Rutherford told reporters at Gimpo International Airport after arriving from Vladivostok on his custom Shark ultralight jet, the world’s fastest ultralight.

“I was stuck in Alaska for visa and climate issues for a month and I was stuck in Russia for a month for visa and climate issues,” he said. “I was hoping to complete it by Christmas, but I guess that’s not happening anymore, but it’s an adventure.”

Rutherford, who will be staying at the hotel ahead of his scheduled departure for Taiwan on Monday, said he expects to complete his trip in mid-January.

With improved travel restrictions related to Covid, Rutherford said he was sometimes not allowed to see local places in some countries.

“I’m watching these places from the air and that’s the most amazing thing,” he said. “While I don’t always have permission to visit, walk around and visit museums and restaurants, I can always see them from the air and it’s pretty amazing.”

Aside from entering the record book, the teenager has expressed the hope that his journey will encourage girls and women to study and work in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and arouse the interest of girls for aviation.

Rutherford seeks the title of Shaesta Wais, who became the youngest woman to fly solo around the world at the age of 30 in 2017. The youngest male record holder, Mason Andrews, was 18 when he made the trip. in 2018.

The daughter of two pilots, Rutherford will start college next year, with the dream of becoming an astronaut.

Photo by Rutherford by NICOLAS MAETERLINCK / BELGIAN / AFP via Getty Images

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