Zara Rutherford is a Belgian-British aviator.
Zara Rutherford was born on July 5, 2002 in Brussels, Belgium. At the age of 14, she began training to become a pilot and gained her pilot’s license in 2020. She completed her A levels in Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Economics and Physics at St. Swithun’s School, a girls’ school in Winchester, Hampshire, England.
On 26 July 2021, at a press conference at Popham Airfield near Winchester, Rutherford announced her bid to become the youngest female pilot to fly solo around the world, at the age of 19. She aimed to break the record previously set by American pilot Shaesta Waiz, who achieved the record in 2017 at the age of 30. Aside from this record, Zara Rutherford also attempted to break two other records — to become the first woman to circumnavigate the world in a microlight aircraft and the first Belgian to circumnavigate the world solo in a single-engine aircraft. The record-breaking attempt was also meant to raise awareness about the gender gap in fields like science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and aviation, and to inspire more women and girls to be involved in STEM fields.
Zara Rutherford began her solo attempt from Kortrijk-Wevelgem Airport in Belgium on 18 August 2021 aboard a Shark UL aircraft. Arriving back to Kortrijk, Belgium, on 20 January 2022, Rutherford completed an epic 41-country journey spanning over 52,000 kilometers, and broke two Guinness World Records in the process.
On 23 March 2022, Zara Rutherford’s younger brother, Mack Rutherford at the age of 16, began his own round-the-world trip in an ultralight aircraft. Rutherford’s brother became the youngest person to fly around the world five months later when he arrived at his starting point of Sofia on 24 August to break the Guinness World record previously held by compatriot Travis Ludlow.
Zara Rutherford is a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 838 in Racine, Wisconsin.
Zara Rutherford will unfortunately not be able to be present in person, but will present a video message.