Teenager stops in Nome in attempt to fly solo around the world
By Julia Lerner
Nineteen-year-old Zara Rutherford landed her two-seat plane at Nome’s City Field on Friday afternoon as part of her attempt to break a Guinness World Record.
Her goal: to be the youngest woman in the world to fly solo around the world.
“It’s a dream,” she told the Nugget. “You get to see some pretty cool stuff!”
Rutherford left Kortrijk, Denmark, on July 18, and has stopped in almost 40 cities for refueling, breaks, and snacks since then. Her stop in Nome on Friday marked the halfway point of her journey.
“I really enjoy Alaska, and I think the people are really cool,” she said. “I really liked the fish!”
Rutherford’s flight from Anchorage into Nome was one of her more challenging flights, she said.
“It got really bumpy for me and there was a strong wind, so I had to do a massive detour, which added like an hour and a half to my flight time,” she said. “[Friday] was particularly hard.”
Though Rutherford’s stop in Nome was slated to last only half an hour– enough time to refuel and call her dad – she has remained in the Nome since then, taking a “well deserved pause,” while she sorts out visa issues.
Following several flight delays, Rutherford’s Russian visa expired, meaning her next flight to Anadyr is on pause until she can arrange another visa.
As of Tuesday, the visa was expected to be issued on Wednesday, but inclement weather may push the Nome departure toward later in the week.
Her plane, a Shark Aero, is an “ultralight aircraft with retractable gear,” and is made predominately of carbon fiber epoxy composite, making it one of the fastest ultralight aircrafts operational.
Follow her journey at www.flyzolo.com