Teen pilot reaches the U.S. in her mission to travel the globe

19-year-old Zara Rutherford pictured before takeoff for a record attempt to become the youngest woman ever to fly solo around the world in a small plane, at Wevelgem airfield, Wednesday 18 August 2021. The current record is held by American Shaesta Wai, who was 30 years old at the time. Zara Rutherford has an English father and Belgian mother. Her father, Sam Rutherford, is a former British army pilot who was stationed in Belgium. BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK (Photo by NICOLAS MAETERLINCK/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

19-year-old Zara Rutherford pictured before takeoff for a record attempt to become the youngest woman ever to fly solo around the world in a small plane, at Wevelgem airfield, Wednesday 18 August 2021. (Photo by NICOLAS MAETERLINCK/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

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UPDATED 12:48 PM PT – Thursday, September 16, 2021

A young pilot is almost a month into her mission to fly around the globe and said her experience has been incredible thus far. Zara Rutherford, 19, is set to be the youngest woman ever to fly solo around the world and she has opened up about her journey so far.

Rutherford, a teen of British and Belgian descent, set off on Aug. 18 from Belgium and headed west toward America. She said although her journey has been tough from the start, it’s definitely been worth it.

“It’s been a tough journey, but I am so happy to be here,” said Rutherford. She has since made landfall in 12 countries and has made several stops in the U.S. Additionally, Rutherford recently visited a Virgin Galactic outpost in the American leg of her journey and described her time there as “amazing.”

“Growing up I never really saw many women in the fields that I was interested in and always thought that was quite discouraging, so I’m hoping to change that,” she said. Her hope is that more young women will be moved to pursue careers in aviation and the STEM fields.

The teen pilot also said she wants little girls around the world to see what she’s doing and feel inspired to reach for the sky. Rutherford said she’s optimistic she will be able to finish her quest to traverse the globe in around two to three months.

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Original Article Oann