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Teen Pilot Takes Step Closer to Circling the Globe

Belgian-British pilot Zara Rutherford, 19, gestures as she speaks during a conference at a Belgian ambassador's residence in Jakarta, Indonesia, December 22, 2021. (REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana)
Teen Pilot Takes Step Closer to Circling the Globe
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Nineteen-year-old Zara Rutherford is looking to become the youngest woman to fly solo, or by herself, around the world.

The young Belgian-British pilot left Belgium in August. Rutherford hopes to complete her 51,000-kilometer trip across five continents and 52 countries by mid-January 2022.

She recently talked about the difficulties involved in crossing northern Russia after landing in Jakarta, Indonesia.

She told reporters in Jakarta the hardest part of her trip so far was flying across Siberia in northern Russia. She noted that if anything went wrong, any help she would need in freezing temperatures would likely be hours away.

"If for any reason the engine stops, I think I could survive. I could either land on the land or (use) the parachute or ditch in the water. I'll be ok," Rutherford said.

She added, "The problem is if I'm in minus 35 degrees Celsius, once I'm on the ground and I'm three hours away from the closest human, ...I actually don't know how long I can survive."

Rutherford describes every solo flight as an "adventure." An adventure is an exciting or possibly dangerous experience. She added that flying solo tests her wits -- or her knowledge and creativity. She said she hopes her trip inspires other young women to enter the fields of aviation, science, technology, mathematics and engineering.

Rutherford is looking to break the current record held by Shaesta Waiz. Waiz was 30 years old when she flew solo around the world in 2017.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

Jonathan Evans adapted this story for Learning English based on a report by the Reuters news service. Ashley Thompson was the editor.


Words in This Story

ditchv. to stop having or using something you no longer want or need; to get rid of something

inspirev. to make someone want to do something; to give someone an idea about what to do or create

aviation -n. the operation of aircraft