Could Zara Rutherford make the history books as the youngest person to fly around the world? The 19-year-old Belgian is in the midst of the trip that could make her a household name.
Rutherford launched her journey from her home country on Aug. 18 and stopped at the Palo Alto Airport on Sept. 15 (she was expected to land a day earlier, but her trip to the Bay Area was delayed by wildfire smoke, according to Tammy Sandhu, deputy consul general for the British Consulate General in San Francisco).
She received a warm welcome from Palo Alto Mayor Tom DuBois and Nathalie Delrue-McGuire, honorary consul of Belgium, as well as other Belgians from the Bay Area, according to the Consulate General of Belgium.
The 19-year-old wants to use the trip to promote flying and the fields of science, technology, engineering and technology for girls and young women, according to FlyZolo.com, which tracks her journey. Well-known aviators Lilian Bland, Bessie Colema, Valentina Tereshkova and Amelia Earhart as her inspirations.
The teen aspires to study computer science and computer engineering and become an astronaut.
Rutherford is making the trip in a Shark Aero, a two-seat tandem ultralight aircraft.
After Palo Alto, her North America stretch continued with stops in Kalispell, Montana; Seattle, Washington; and the Alaskan cities of Juneau and Anchorage. She plans to cover 52 countries and five continents before returning to Belgium in early November.
For more information on Rutherford's trip, visit FlyZolo.com.