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(CNN) — Teenage aviator Zara Rutherford has turn out to be the youngest woman to fly all over the globe solo.
The 19-yr-previous, who has twin British-Belgian nationality, landed at Kortrijk-Wevelgem Airport in western Belgium on Thursday, finishing an epic 41-nation journey spanning over 52,000 kilometers (32,300 miles), and broke two Guinness Planet Information in the approach.
“I made it,” Rutherford, who gained a rapturous welcome on her arrival, explained to reporters.
Not only has she crushed the report held by American Shaesta Waiz, who was 30 when she circumnavigated the world unaccompanied in 2017, Rutherford also now holds the title for the first girl to circumnavigate the globe in a microlight aircraft.
She is also the initially Belgian to fly all around the environment by itself.
Nevertheless, the teenager’s route to glory hasn’t been with out its challenges.
When Rutherford departed on August 18, 2021 in a bespoke Shark ultralight plane, she believed her aerial escapade would take about a few months.
Teenage pilot Zara Rutherford lands in Belgium on January 20 just after finishing her solo spherical-the-environment excursion.
John Thys/AFP/Getty Photographs
But she was plagued by setbacks, like thirty day period-very long delays in equally Alaska and Russia because of to “visa and weather challenges,” pushing her schedule back eight months.
“I would say the most difficult part was undoubtedly flying around Siberia — it was really cold. It was minus 35 levels Celsius on the ground,” Rutherford reported through a push meeting on Thursday.
“If the motor were being to stall, I might be hours away from rescue and I don’t know how very long I could have survived for.”
She was also forced to make an unscheduled landing in Redding, California because of to weak visibility as a final result of the wildfires in the Seattle area and was later denied authorization to fly over China.
Although she’s flown to an array of places, this sort of as Singapore, Egypt and Greece, along with Russia and South Korea, Rutherford has been unable to investigate any of them on land due to Covid-19 constraints.
The closing leg of her journey was also strike with delays because of to undesirable temperature, which intended her completion day was moved again a different week.
Rutherford is at the moment on a gap calendar year and programs to go to university in September to examine laptop or computer engineering. Whilst the two of her parents are pilots and she has been discovering to fly because she was 14, Rutherford did not get her first license right until 2020.
1 of her main aims for this challenge, apart from breaking Waiz’s record, was to guarantee better visibility for gals in aviation.
Past year, Rutherford spoke of her disappointment at the reality that just 5.1% of airline pilots all-around the world are girls, according to figures from the Intercontinental Society of Gals Airline Pilots (ISA).
Rutherford has been supporting two charities on her vacation: Girls Who Code, which assists young females coming into laptop science, and Goals Soar, a nonprofit launched by Waiz, that supports gals and women coming into STEM fields.
She hopes that her superior-profile journey will motivate much more youthful girls and females to take into consideration a occupation in aviation.
“It can be an quick issue to say, but just go for it,” Rutherford added. “If you you should not try and see how significant you can fly, then you are going to under no circumstances know.”
The two-seat ultralight plane she done the journey in was presented by Shark Aero, 1 of the sponsors for the vacation, with customizations this sort of as a next radio, and an further fuel tank in the spot the place the 2nd passenger seat would typically sit.
CNN’s Rebecca Cairns also contributed to this report.