Belgian on record-breaking solo flight stuck due to visa issues

Belgian on record-breaking solo flight stuck due to visa issues
Rutherford's plane. Credit: FlyZolo

The 19-year-old Belgian-British national Zara Rutherford, who is attempting to become the youngest woman to fly solo around the world, has become stuck in Alaska due to visa issues.

Rutherford was delayed in getting to the city of Nome, in western Alaska – the starting point to reach Russia – due to bad weather and technical issues, and as a result, her visa to get into Russia expired on October 2 before she was able to enter the country.

“Zara is still stuck in Nome, Alaska and is hoping for a quick Russian visa renewal,” Rutherford’s FlyZolo team said earlier this week.

“Fingers crossed that the visa renewal and passport can get back to Zara soon,” the team’s statement read, stressing that snow is to be expected any day, which could mean the potential weather window to leave Alaska could close soon.

A new visa application has been submitted to the Russian consulate in Houston, Texas.

Rutherford’s online ‘arrival board’ has been updated to include the delay. Credit: FlyZolo

Since leaving Belgium, Rutherford has already crossed the Atlantic, landed in Iceland and Greenland. She later flew across Canada, the east coast and the south of the United States to end up in Colombia via the Caribbean. She later flew north through Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, to pass through the United States again.

Once completing her flight, she will have flown over 52 countries and travelled 27,685 nautical miles, which is more than 51,000 kilometres, making her the youngest woman ever to fly solo around the world in a sports aircraft.

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