• Nationality

    Belgian, British

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Zara Rutherford




Video Greeting

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.