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19-Year-Old Seeking To Become Youngest Woman To Fly Solo Across Globe Arriving In Palo Alto

PALO ALTO (CBS SF) -- A 19-year-old woman looking to become the youngest woman to fly solo around the world was scheduled to land in Palo Alto Tuesday.

The 19-year-old Zara Rutherford took off from Kortrijk, Belgium on August 18 on a route over 52 countries and five continents aboard a high-performance ultralight aircraft specially prepared for the long journey.

Rutherford is scheduled to finish her around-the-world journey, which includes 70 planned stops with 19 rest days, back in Kortrijk on November 4.

On her website, Rutherford said she is on a mission to encourage other young women and girls to pursue their dreams in STEM.

"I have always been interested in two things: aviation and STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). Through my round the world trip I'm hoping to encourage other girls to start flying too or (/and ???? ) enter STEM related careers. Only 5% of commercial pilots are women, and 15% of computer scientists are women! That's an extremely low number considering these are amazing careers with wonderful opportunities."


The British Consulate General in San Francisco was to greet Rutherford on her arrival in Palo Alto. Rutherford, whose parents are both pilots, went to school in Winchester, England and lives in Belgium.

The current record holder for youngest female to fly around the world solo is American Shaesta Waiz, who accomplished the feat in 2017 at age 30. The youngest male record holder is

The current female record holder is American Shaesta Waiz, who was 30 at the time of her challenge in 2017. The youngest male record holder is 18-year-old Travis Ludlow of England who completed the challenge in July.

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