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Zara Rutherford’s historic flight

Zara Rutherford, a Belgian pilot, making a solo round-the-world trip on a bespoke Shark ultralight plane, landed at Khabarovsk International Airport on 30 November. The 19-year-old dreams of becoming the youngest woman in history who alone will fly around the world.

Planned in accordance with the requirements of the Guinness Book of Records, the route passes through 52 countries and crosses the equator twice, flying through Belgium–Great Britain–Iceland–Greenland, across the Atlantic, Canada, the USA, Mexico and South America. Then, after reaching Alaska, Zara planned to cross Russia, Korea, Indonesia, India, and Iran before returning to Europe.

Zara Rutherford started her flight in Belgium on 18 August and reached Alaska already by the end of September. On 30 October, she headed to Russia across the Bering Strait and made it to Anadyr, Chukotka. Then she reached Magadan and spent there a week due to bad weather. Zara was able to take off to Khabarovsk on 9 November, but the deteriorating weather conditions forced her to land in the village of Ayan, Khabarovsk Territory. This weather-related delay lasted three weeks, and the flight was rescheduled repeatedly. Zara even made a comment on her Instagram page on 29 November: “At this rate, by the time I get home I’ll be fluent in Russian”.

The next departure date was scheduled for 30 November. This time the weather was favourable, and the young pilot was able to leave Ayan and successfully land in Khabarovsk before the next severe blizzard, expected on 1 December. The flight lasted several hours at an average altitude of 1,200 m.

The flight in Russian airspace was operated with the direct participation of the Main ATM Centre, which provided flight planning advice on this difficult endeavor and promptly adressed all arising issues. The Main ATM Centre’s flight planning officers first learned of this unique flight in mid-September 2021. The flight was originally planned for 21 September, and only thanks to high professionalism of the ATM/ ASM/ATC personnel, a suitable route was developed and all the necessary coordination carried out in record-breaking time. However, life does not always turn out exactly how you plan it. The flight was being delayed for a month and a half, until finally the aircraft took off from Nome Airport and landed safely in Anadyr.

Foto FlyZolo