A teenager aiming to be the youngest woman ever to fly around the world solo has landed at a local airfield as part of her round the world journey,

Zara Rutherford landed at Popham Airfield, near Micheldever, at 11:30 as her first stop on her journey, which will span five continents and 52 countries. The 19-year-old, who has British and Belgian nationality, had started her journey earlier on August 18 at Kortrijk in Belgium.

Speaking when she announced the project in July, Zara said: “At first, I was planning to fly around the world as an adventure during my gap year, not realising I would become the youngest woman to do so if I achieved it.

“It was only when I started researching more that I noticed I could be the first Belgian and the youngest woman to solo circumnavigate the globe.

“I’m hoping to get more girls interested in aviation.”

Zara comes from a family of pilots, with both parents in the aviation industry. She studied in Hampshire at St Swithun’s School in Winchester, and the solo trip is her gap year project before she goes to university, where she plans to study computer science or computer engineering, with the long-term ambition of becoming an astronaut.

She is flying a specially modified Shark Ultralight, the world’s fastest light sport aircraft, for the self-funded record attempt. The spare seat has been removed to accommodate an extra fuel tank and to avoid any questions about another person flying with her.

After landing in Popham, she spent around an hour and a half on site before departing at around 1pm, heading to Wick in Scotland via Aberdeen. Over the next three months, she plans to visit Iceland, Greenland, Canada, the US and Latin America to Colombia, then back north via Alaska to Russia, China, Indonesia, India and the Middle East before ending in Belgium.

If all goes as planned, she will finish her epic journey in November and claim the record. The current female record holder is American Shaesta Waiz, who was 30 at the time of her circumnavigation in 2017, while the youngest male record-holder was 18 years old when they completed their journey.