"I think it is a beautiful destination, and I really wanted to stop somewhere in the Caribbean islands, and the BVI kinda stood out …there were multiple factors, but I am so happy to be here."
These are the words of Belgium native Zara Rutherford, 19, who, moments ago landed at the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport on Beef Island.
She was welcomed by Junior Minister for Tourism Hon. Sharie de Castro, Director of the BVI Tourist Board, Mr. Clive McCoy, and other tourism officials.
The teen pilot departed her home town of Kortrijk to embark on a three-month journey during which she will attempt to travel to 52 countries across the globe.
Her aim is to be the youngest female pilot to circumnavigate the globe alone and fulfil her life's dream while creating history.
"With this flight, I want to encourage girls and young women to pursue their dreams. I want to reduce the gender gap in aviation as well as in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)," Rutherford said via a post on her website FlyZolo.
Rutherford is flying in a two-seater Shark Aero, dubbed the world's lightest sports plane, built for long journeys.
She has several sponsors for her journey, and the funds raised will go towards two charities for women – Waiz's charity Dreams Soar and Girls Who Code.