The Voyager aircraft, designed by Burt Rutan, was the first to make a non-stop, unrefueled flight around the world, in December 1986.
Photograph courtesy Dick Rutan and NASA
On December 23, 1986, the experimental aircraft Voyager completed the first nonstop flight around the world. Flown by American aviators Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, the plane traveled 40,212 kilometers (24,987 miles) over nine days. In order to successfully circumnavigate the globe, the plane had to be as light as possible and carry as much fuel as possible. Rutan’s brother Burt, an aircraft designer, and a team of volunteers constructed the Voyager primarily with fiberglass and carbon fiber material. It was outfitted with 17 fuel tanks, and weighed 4,297 kilograms (9,695 pounds) fully loaded.
Rutan and Yeager’s feat has only been accomplished one other time, by American adventurer Steve Fossett in 2006. Fossett’s aircraft, the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer, was also designed by Burt Rutan.
to succeed or complete a goal.
vehicle able to travel and operate above the ground.
to go completely around something (usually the Earth).
to build or erect.
accomplishment or achievement.
material made from fine strands of glass that are woven into fabric.
material that provides power or energy.
first or most important.