Teen pilot Zara Rutherford aims for Seoul as first Asia stop in attempt to fly solo around the world

SEOUL (REUTERS) – Teen pilot Zara Rutherford was set to arrive in Seoul on Saturday (Dec 11) from Russia, the first Asia stop on her attempt to become the youngest woman to fly around the world solo.

In August, the 19-year-old British-Belgian departed from Kortrijk-Wevelgem Airport in western Belgium on her 51,000km journey, which is to span five continents and 52 countries, including the United States, Greenland, Russia and Colombia.

Ms Rutherford’s arrival from Vladivostok in her bespoke Shark ultralight plane, the world’s fastest microlight, was delayed for a month due to bad weather.

She is to hold a news conference at Gimpo International Airport in the afternoon, then remain at her hotel before her planned departure for Taiwan on Monday.

The teenager has expressed hope her voyage will encourage girls and women to study and work in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and spark girls’ interest in aviation.

Ms Rutherford is seeking the title held by from Ms Shaesta Wais, who became the youngest woman to fly solo round the world at age 30 in 2017.

The youngest male record holder, Mr Mason Andrews, was 18 years old when he made the journey in 2018.

Born to two pilots, Ms Rutherford will start university next year, with the dream of becoming an astronaut.

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