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Zara heading for Greenland in aviation record bid after stopping off in Wick


By Alan Hendry

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Zara at Wick John O'Groats Airport with John and Marie Yendall.
Zara at Wick John O'Groats Airport with John and Marie Yendall.

Microlight pilot Zara Rutherford is on her way to Greenland, having had a brief stop-off in Wick, as she continues her attempt to circumnavigate the globe.

The 19-year-old is making a record-breaking bid to become the youngest woman to fly solo around the world, starting and finishing in Belgium.

She landed at Wick John O'Groats Airport on Thursday morning where local company Far North Aviation donated fuel and Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) waived the landing fee.

Zara's next stop was Iceland and, after Greenland, she hopes to touch down on Canada's east coast on Sunday. Her planned route will take her to dozens of countries including the USA, Mexico, Russia, China, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Greece and Germany.

Adrienne Foster of Far North Aviation said: "We refuelled her and Far North paid for all the fuel, and HIAL waived her landing fee.

Zara Rutherford with HIAL firefighters at Wick.
Zara Rutherford with HIAL firefighters at Wick.

"We like to support young people in aviation and we welcome small aircraft. We don't shun small aircraft like a lot of the bigger airports do.

“We wish Zara well and we wish her a safe journey. She is on her way to Greenland, so fingers crossed.”

During her visit to Wick, Zara met and posed for pictures with John and Marie Yendall, who were going to be hosting her before her plans changed and she stayed overnight in Aberdeen. John is a hoist operator with Wiking Helikopter Service at Wick.

She also met members of the HIAL firefighting team at Wick John O'Groats Airport.

Zara qualified as a pilot last year and both her parents are experienced pilots.

The 19-year-old says her aim is to encourage girls and young women to pursue their dreams. Picture: Flyzolo and Beatrice De Smet
The 19-year-old says her aim is to encourage girls and young women to pursue their dreams. Picture: Flyzolo and Beatrice De Smet

She started her journey in Belgium on Wednesday and is due to finish there on November 4, although the dates are subject to change. She is flying a Shark Aero high-performance two-seat tandem ultralight aircraft using the most advanced technology.

She was born in Belgium and went to school in England.

Before setting off, Zara said: “I am planning to fly around the world solo which will make me the youngest woman to circumnavigate the globe solo as well as the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe solo in a microlight aircraft.

“My aim is to encourage girls and young women to pursue their dreams."


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