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DEUTZ presents Zara Rutherford with the Nicolaus August Otto Award

  • Youngest female pilot to fly solo around the world
  • Innovation prize recognizes pioneering spirit and passion for technology

Cologne, June 29, 2022 – Last night, DEUTZ presented Zara Rutherford with the Nicolaus August Otto Award. The Belgian-British aviator is the youngest woman to have flown solo around the world and the youngest person ever to circumnavigate the world in an ultralight aircraft. At the #neuland conference in Aachen, Zara Rutherford was awarded the prestigious innovation prize in recognition of her pioneering spirit and passion for technology. DEUTZ presents the Nicolaus August Otto Award to visionary individuals to encourage zest for exploration, scientific curiosity and innovative thinking. The innovation prize is named for the inventor of the four-stroke engine and founder of the company that would later become DEUTZ AG.

Professor Dr. Ing Günther Schuh, a pioneer in the field of electrical engineering and Chair of Production Engineering at RWTH Aachen University, gave the commendation speech in honor of this year’s winner of the Nicolaus August Otto Award. On January 20, 2022, Zara Rutherford landed her Shark ultralight aircraft at Kortrijk in Belgium, from where she had embarked on her journey 155 days earlier. Rutherford comes from a family of aviators and took control of an aircraft cockpit for the first time at the age of 14. She completed her A levels in mathematics, economics and physics and plans to study computer science. Her biggest dream is to become an astronaut. The teenager is also a world record holder with an entry in the Guinness World Records as the youngest female pilot to have flown around the world.

“Zara Rutherford is a high flyer in every sense. Her pioneering spirit and passion for technology enable her to push boundaries and set new records. Technological progress can only realize its full potential through action. It relies on people who recognize its possibilities and are able to bring them to life through their vision. In doing so, they become an inspiration for others. It takes courage, enthusiasm and drive to take this path,” says Dr. Ing. Markus Müller, Chief Technology Officer of DEUTZ AG.

“I grew up in a family of aviators and was lucky enough to have real role models in my parents and grandparents. Now I want to inspire others. For me, pioneering spirit means recognizing that there is always more to see and discover in the world. Girls and young women in particular should pursue their dreams. With my flight, I also want to inspire them for STEM professions," says Zara Rutherford. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The Nicolaus August Otto Award is presented annually. It is endowed with prize money of €30,000. In 2022, the innovation prize was presented by DEUTZ once again at the #neuland conference, which focuses on an environmentally and economically sustainable future. Further information on the Nicolaus August Otto Award can be found at

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(f. l. t. r.) Prof. Dr.-Ing. Günther Schuh, Chair of Production Engineering at RWTH Aachen University, with the award winner Zara Rutherford and Dr.-Ing. Markus Müller (Member of the Board of Management DEUTZ).

Source: DEUTZ AG