PALO ALTO (CBS SF) — On Wednesday morning, landing at the Palo Alto Airport was a touch down along a young pilot’s journey to a sky-high, world record.

Zara Rutherford, 19, is from Belgium. She’s on a mission to become the youngest woman ever to fly around the world, solo.

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“It’s been a tough journey, but I am so happy to be here,” she said. “I’m trying to fly around the world and hopefully become the youngest woman to do so.”

Rutherford, who just graduated from high school, started her journey on August 18, when she took off from an airport in Belgium. She’s since touched down in 12 countries and has made several stops in the United States.

“I have flown many miles,” she said. “I think over 10,000 miles.”

A crowd of supporters greeted her on the Palo Alto tarmac, including the Honorary Consul of Belgium for San Francisco.

“I think it’s very inspirational because it shows girls and young women that nothing is impossible,” Nathalie Delrue-McGuire said. “We are so proud of her. The community is here to support her.”

That’s another component of her mission. Aside from soaring into the record books, Rutherford wants to encourage more girls to go into aviation and “STEM” fields. She hopes her journey will inspire girls to chase after their dreams.

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“Growing up, I never really saw many women in the fields that I was interested in and always thought that was quite discouraging, so I’m hoping to change that,” she said.

Her mission and kindness resonated with 14-year-old Sahej Sethi, who wants to fly fighter jets in the Navy when she grows up.

“Yes, most definitely an inspiration,” she said. “Always go for your dreams, because just like Zara, it’s always possible. Hopefully me in my future – I can do the same thing she’s doing.”

Rutherford gave Sethi the grand tour of her plane on the tarmac, and let her sit inside the cockpit.

“She wants to beat my record, and I find that really exciting,” she said. “Thats like one of my main goals – to get more girls to do it. Then hopefully, we can start competing with the boys. I think there would be some friendly competition.”

This young pilot was pleased with the support she received in Palo Alto, but won’t be sticking around for long. She still has a lot of flying – and inspiring – left to do.

She’s almost to the halfway point of her journey. She has a few more stops left in the USA, including Montana, Washington, and Alaska. She’ll plan to touch down in Russia next week.

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Once she completes her journey, Rutherford says she plans to sleep a lot and then focus on going to college. She told us there’s a pretty good one close to the Palo Alto Airport she’s very interested in: Stanford University.