December 18, 2021

What a Gap Year


What a Gap Year
They should have consulted a professional English-language editor before writing all over the Shark plane. Wikimedia Commons user MB-one

A nineteen-year-old pilot who is solo-circumnavigating the world recently landed in Khabarovsk.

Young Belgian pilot Zara Rutherford launched the FlyZolo project with help from Rotary International. Her plane is the Shark, one of the fastest ultralight planes in the world. Polina Gruba of the Rotary Club hosted the pilot at her home in Khabarovsk.

Rutherford has never been so far away from home and is doing it in grand fashion as a solo pilot. In the Far East, she touched down in Magadan and Ayan before reaching Khabarovsk. But in the latter, larger city, Rutherford was finally able to connect to wi-fi and contact her family in Belgium, who was quite worried about her.

Residents of Khabarovsk dressed the pilot up like a Russian princess and stuffed her with pelmeni, blini, borscht, "herring under a fur coat," and other Russian delicacies. She met the players of the Khabarovsk Amur hockey team, part of the KHL (the second-best hockey league in the world, by many estimates).

Rutherford has not even started, let alone finished, college. She is starting next year, so this has been a very accomplished "gap year" – a break between high school and college that is more common in Europe than in either the United States or Russia.

Rutherford hopes to be the youngest woman to ever circumnavigate the globe. Follow her journey on FlyZolo.com.

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