Young Woman Sets Two Flying Records, Hopes To Encourage Other Girls

Daniel Mitchell-Benoit
Rutherford's plane flying in the air with her inside.
instagram | @fly.zolo

In early 2022, a teenage girl set two incredible records in the world of aviation with her flight around the world, an incredible feat for any pilot, let alone one her age.

She was inspired by the lack of female pilots she saw growing up and with this flight, she hoped to be an example to any other young girls who hoped to see themselves in aviation.

In January, a young woman set a new record.

Zara Rutherford became the youngest woman to ever fly around the world solo at just 19 years old earlier this year. She was also the first person ever to conduct a flight around the world in a microlight plane.

Before this, the record was held by Shaesta Waiz, who did the same flight at 30 years old.

The flight was rife with issues.

She made a brief stop in Alaska, intending to spend a night with family there, and wound up staying for a whole month after her Russian visa expired and the weather was consistently too bad for flying.

In an interview with Insider, she shared that between Alaska and Siberia "every single flight something went wrong."

But she persevered and wound up accomplishing an incredible feat.

She had noticed a distinct lack of female pilots while growing up, and felt very isolated in her passion for aviation, feeling like she couldn't talk about it with her other female friends.

"It was quite discouraging. Only 5% of commercial pilots are women, it's hard for a girl to see themselves in this field," she explained.

With this trip, Rutherford hoped to bring some diversity to the profession.

Hopefully, other young girls with an interest in becoming a pilot will see her feats and know there's a place for them in the world of aviation.

Having accomplished her goal, Rutherford is looking to the future, where she certainly wants to keep flying, but also wants to attend university.

She's proud of what she's done, and doesn't feel a need to 'beat' it.

"People keep asking me what's next. Flying around the world is tough to beat, but I don't see it like that. Whether it's flying around the world, or running a marathon, or even just overcoming a small challenge – you can't really compare them," she explained, "Even if you could, I would argue flying around the world and solving a maths problem I've had hours of difficulty with … actually I'm just as proud of either."

h/t: Insider