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.

accomplish
Verb

to succeed or complete a goal.

aircraft
Noun

vehicle able to travel and operate above the ground.

circumnavigate
Verb

to go completely around something (usually the Earth).

construct
Verb

to build or erect.

feat
Noun

accomplishment or achievement.

fiberglass
Noun

material made from fine strands of glass that are woven into fabric.

fuel
Noun

material that provides power or energy.

primarily
Adverb

first or most important.

More Dates in History

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