By Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice on August 27, 2021
Update: Some additional details about Zara Rutherford’s flight courtesy of Lyndse Costabile, a Raleigh resident and principal consultant to FunD Av Consulting, who will be flying a Grumman Cheeta to the Wright Brothers airstrip early Sunday to be on hand when Zara arrives here. She is tentatively scheduled to land shortly after 10 a.m.
Zara is expected to remain on the ground in Dare County for a brief period of time, mingling with a “mini-welcoming committee” before getting airborne again and heading to Jacksonville FL. Among those greeting her in Jacksonville, will be Shaesta Waiz, who currently has the distinction of being the youngest woman to fly solo around the world, accomplishing the feat at age 30 in 2017. If successful, Zara will break her record before she turns 20.
If everything stays on schedule, on Sunday, Aug. 29, 19-year-old Zara Rutherford will land her Shark Ultralight plane (optimum cruising speed of 140 knots) on the small airfield at the Wright Brothers Memorial on her journey to become the youngest woman to fly solo around the world.
Rutherford left her native Belgium on Aug. 18 and is slated to arrive in Dare County after a layover in New York City. According to her website, FlyZolo – Youngest Woman Solo, she should arrive back at home in March of 2022.
Both of Rutherford’s parents are pilots, and on her site, she says she’s been “flying for as long as I can remember,” with her sights set on becoming an astronaut. She explains that the goal of her potentially historic mission is to “promote flying and STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) opportunities for girls/young women.”
Of course, no one can be certain that Zara will arrive in Kill Devil Hills exactly when planned, but you can follow her journey on the FlyZolo site.
Efforts to reach Zara or members of her team have thus far been unsuccessful. After sending an email on Aug. 27, this reporter received a prompt and polite auto reply that read, “Thank you very much for your message. I am currently busy flying around the world on my world record attempt so am unable to respond immediately to all messages.”