NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — This Women’s Equality Day, we’re introducing you to a young woman who’s trying to level the airfield, flying high to break a world record.
It’s often said the sky’s the limit, but for 19-year-old Zara Rutherford, it’s just the beginning.READ MORE: R. Kelly Found Guilty Of All Counts In Sex Trafficking, Racketeering Trial
“I’m trying to become the youngest woman to fly solo around the world,” she told CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis.
“How does it feel to be in New York?” DeAngelis asked.
“It’s really nice. Flying in, all the skyscrapers was amazing,” Rutherford said.
WATCH: Teen Aviator Zara Rutherford Arrives At Kennedy Airport —
Not only is she on her way to break a world record as the youngest woman to soar solo around the globe, she’ll be accomplishing a major goal.
“For me, it was a dream I’ve had a really long time. Both my parents are pilots, so I grew up around airplanes,” she said.
Her father, Sam, embraced her at the airport. He’s been watching her journey from a distance.
“Very proud, very happy,” he said.
“Does this make you nervous at all?” DeAngelis asked.
“Less and less. The first week was a lot of stress. Flying over the Atlantic is difficult and dangerous, so we were watching that very carefully,” he said.
Zara knows young girls are watching closely, too, which is part of her mission.READ MORE: COVID Vaccine Mandate For New York City Teachers To Take Effect After Federal Appeals Court Lifts Temporary Ban
“Hopefully get more girls to go into aviation. Growing up, I didn’t see many other women as pilots and so that’s always quite discouraging,” she said. “I’m really hoping that they can choose their careers … even if it’s male-dominated, that they can say, actually, this is what I want to do, and do it because it is amazing.”
She’s well on her way, inspiring the daughter of the acting consul general at the British Consulate in New York, who met her upon 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!” Avelyn said.
To Avelyn and young girls everywhere, Zara shares a special message.
“It might sound cheesy, but reach for the sky,” she said.
As part of her solo flight, Zara is raising money for charity, and one of her chosen charities, Girls Who Code, is based right here in New York.
“They try to encourage girls to start coding through workshops and are hoping to go into computer science for a career,” she said.
To donate to the cause, click here.
Zara has three months left on her journey. Her next stop is Jacksonville, Florida, and of course, we wish her the best of luck.
Zara said her flights are usually about five hours.
To pass the time, she listens to music and podcasts, except when she was over Greenland, explaining she was out of reach with no radio contact during that leg of her journey.MORE NEWS: Parents Of Immunocompromised Girl Say Long Island School District Refused Requests For Adequate Remote Option
You can track Zara’s journey across 52 countries and five continents at flyzolo.com/route.