QCOSTARICA – The Tobías Bolaños airport, in Pavas, received this Tuesday the 19-year-old Belgian pilot, Zara Rutherford, a young woman who is about to become the youngest woman to go around the world alone in an ultralight plane.
San José, Costa Rica, is the 23rd city where she landed and her visit was sponsored by the Costa Rican company Aerodiva, as part of the celebration of the country’s Bicentennial of Independence.
“Originally Costa Rica was not included in her plans, but Zara kindly accepted our invitation,” the company said through a press release.
Zara took off from Tocumen, Panama, entered through the South Caribbean, took a western route over Limón and entered the Central Valley through the eastern sector of the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM), landing around 9 am, in the middle of a water arch provided by the Fire Department.
The airport explained that the reception was perfect. Although the arrival was scheduled for this Monday, weather conditions forced a postponed to this Tuesday.
Zara is flying a 325-kilogram Shark UL (two-seat) aircraft, made in Slovakia, which flies at a speed of 260 km/h and is powered by a 100-horsepower Rotax engine.
She left Belgium on August 18 and so far she has flown more than 15,000 kilometers. Her goal is to make stops in 52 countries on five continents.
Among her destinations are England, Scotland, Iceland, Greenland, Canada, the United States, the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Colombia, Panama, and now Costa Rica.
Zara crosses the countries in complete solitude. She only carries with her a suitcase, a satellite phone and a radio to be able to communicate with the air traffic controllers.
She has a Belgian work team that supports her remotely with air permits for landings. From then on she is alone against the world.
Message to women
With her challenge, Zara wants to motivate and encourage more women to enter the fields of aviation.
She also invites them to venture into the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields, as they are spaces where there is an under-representation of female professionals.
The young pilot says she plans to study Computer Science and one day become an astronaut.
For now, she hopes to break the record of Afghan-American Shaesta Waiz, who circumnavigated the globe alone in 2017 at the age of 30.
In fact, Zara Rutherford made it a point to make a stop in Jacksonville, Florida, to meet Shaesta.