Zara heads for Phuket in her quest to be the youngest woman to fly around the world, solo

Zara Rutherford arrives in Phuket next week. In a plane. In her own plane. Alone.

The 19 year old is dropping into Phuket (maybe ‘dropping’ is the wrong word) as part of her ground-breaking around-the-world journey in a microlight/ultralight plane. She flew out of Belgium, heading west, in August this year, to fly solo around the world flying in a small two-person light aircraft. When she completes her journey Zara will be the youngest woman ever to fly solo around the world, and the youngest person to fly solo around the world in a microlight.

Currently Zara is approximately 3/4 through her epic journey. It hasn’t all been fluffy white clouds and blue skies, however, with a precarious crossing from Iceland to Greenland where she ended up only a few hundred metres above the Atlantic as she was forced down by a low cloud cover. She also had a few visa issues as she flew through Russia which slowed her progress. But, now in Asia, Zara is headed for Thailand and expects to arrive sometime next Monday.

Zara completed her A-Levels in Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Economics and Physics this year, and hopes to go to university to study computer science/computer engineering. But in between she decided to fly around the world in her Czech-Slovak built ‘Shark’. The ultralight design certainly looks like a flying shark and is the fastest such aircraft of its type, and can cruise at around 270 kilometres an hour with top speeds even exceeding 300 kilometres an hour.

Zara heads for Phuket in her quest to be the youngest woman to fly around the world, solo | News by ThaigerThe youngest man to have flown solo around the world, British Travis Ludlow, was 18 years old when he completed the journey this year. The youngest woman, Shaesta Waiz, was 30 at the time of her flight.

Captain Suchard from the Phuket Airpark, where Khun Zara is planning to arrive on December 20 to meet her followers and fans, is keeping us up to date with a more precise arrival time as Zara gets closer.

Zara says that her aim is “to encourage girls and young women to pursue their dreams and promote aviation and STEM-related careers (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) for them”.

Zara heads for Phuket in her quest to be the youngest woman to fly around the world, solo | News by Thaiger

PHOTO: The ‘Shark’, complete with gills and that shark-like tail fin.

“With this flight I want to encourage girls and young women to pursue their dreams. I want to reduce the gender gap in Aviation.”

The Thaiger will follow Zara’s trip through Thailand and will be at the Phuket Air Park to meet her when she arrives.

Tim Newton

Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2011. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 42 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program (public radio Australia), presented over 11,000 radio news bulletins, 3,950 in Thailand alone, hosted 1050 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. He also reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand.
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