NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – On this day for women’s equality, we introduce you to a young woman who is trying to level the playing field and flying high to break a world record.
It is often said that the sky is the limit, but for 19-year-old Zara Rutherford, this is only the beginning.
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“I’m trying to be the youngest woman to fly solo around the world,” she told CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis.
She touched on JFK International Airport on Thursday and pulled into the Sheltair asphalt a week into her journey, which started in Belgium, where she is from.
“How does it feel to be in New York?” Asked DeAngelis.
“It’s really weird. All the skyscrapers fly in and were amazing, ”Rutherford said.
SE: Teen Aviator Zara Rutherford arrives at Kennedy Airport –
Not only is she on track to break a world record as the youngest woman to float solo around the world, she wants to reach a big goal.
“For me, it was a dream I have had for a very long time. Both my parents are pilots, so I grew up around airplanes, ”she said.
Her father, Sam, hugged her at the airport. He has seen her journey from a distance.
“Very proud, very happy,” he said.
“Does that make you nervous at all?” Asked DeAngelis.
“Less and less. The first week was very stressful. It’s hard and dangerous to fly across the Atlantic, so we watched it very closely,” he said.
Zara knows that young girls also look closely, which is part of her mission.
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“Hopefully more girls will go into aviation. When I was growing up, I did not see many other women as pilots, and it is always quite discouraging, ”she said. “I really hope they can choose their career … even though it’s male dominated, that they can actually say, that’s what I want to do, and do it because it’s great.”
She is well on her way and inspires the daughter of the acting Consul General at the British Consulate in New York, who met her at the landing.
“My daughter, Avelyn, is 7 years old. She’s really into science, and Zara is a real inspiration, ”said Acting Consul General Hannah Young.
“Really cool!” Said Avelyn.
To Avelyn and young girls everywhere, Zara shares a special message.
“It may sound boring, but it reaches to heaven,” she said.
As part of her solo flight, Zara is raising money for charity, and one of her select charities, Girls Who Code, is based right here in New York.
“They’re trying to encourage girls to start coding through workshops and hope to go into computer science for a career,” she said.
To donate to the cause, click here.
Zara has three months left of her journey. Her next stop is Jacksonville, Florida, and of course we wish her the best of luck.
Zara said her flights are usually around five hours.
To pass the time, she listens to music and podcasts, except when she was over Greenland, and explained that she was out of reach without radio contact during that part of her journey.
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You can track Zara’s journey across 52 countries and five continents flyzolo.com/route.