A British-Belgian teenager Zara Rutherford became the youngest woman to fly solo around the globe on Thursday and the first person to do it in a microlight plane after a five-month, five-continent odyssey in her Shark ultralight.
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Nineteen-year-old landed back at Kortrijk-Wevelgem Airport in Belgium after flying 51,000 km (32,000 miles) over 52 nations since her departure on August 18 in the world’s fastest microlight aircraft.
I would not do it again, young pilot says
“I would not do it again,” she confessed, explaining that despite many amazing moments she feared for her life a couple of times.
After North and South America, Rutherford 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.
To meet the criteria for a round-the-world flight, she touched two points opposite each other on the globe: Jambi in Indonesia and Tumaco in Colombia.
Rutherford also became the first Belgian to circumnavigate the world solo in a single-engine aircraft.