Rutan (Lt. Col., USAF, Ret.) made history in December
of 1986 after completing a nine day, three minute and forty-four
second round-the-world, non-stop and non-refueled flight,
setting an absolute world’s record that still holds today.
the storm-battered Voyager down on the dry lakebed at Edwards
Air Force Base, he successfully completed a six year quest
doubling the previous world distance record.
Ronald Reagan awarded Dick the Presidential Citizen’s Medal of
Honor at a special ceremony for the Voyager Team four days after
the landing. The Medal of Honor has been presented only sixteen
times in the history of the United States.
received his pilot’s license and driver’s license on his
16th birthday. He flew 325 missions in Vietnam, 105 of them as a
member of the Super Sabre FAC, a high risk operation commonly
known as the “MISTYS.” Dick was hit by enemy ground fire on
his last mission and was forced to eject from his burning F-100
to be rescued later.
retiring from the Air Force in 1978, Lt. Col. Rutan had been
awarded the Silver Star, five Distinguished Flying Crosses, 16
Air Medals and a purple heart.
will be giving a presentation entitled Aviation Adventures
at the Visiting Nurse Association Air Show.
a wing and a dream, a small group of people set out to achieve
the impossible - to fly around the world without stopping and
without refueling. It was originally believed the project would
take about 18 months. Design, construction, flight route and
permissions, and testing stretched that 18 month projection to
nearly six years. In early December of 1986, Voyager was flown
to Edwards Air Force Base in California. She was fueled for
hours and on December 14, 1986, Voyager took off on what would
become The World's Longest Flight.
flight was the first-ever, non-stop, unrefueled flight
around the world. It took place between December 14 and
December 23, 1986.
milestone flight took 9 days, 3 minutes and 44 seconds.
absolute world distance records set during that flight
remained unchallenged today.
flight was 26,366 statute miles, which more than doubled the
previous record set by a B52 Bomber in 1962. (The FAI
accredited distance at 40,212 km).
structural weight of the Voyager Aircraft was only 939
the airplane took off full of fuel, pilots and supplies, the
gross take off weight was 9,694.5 pounds.
average altitude flown was about 11,000 feet.
Voyager took off from and landed at Edwards Air Force Base
were two crew members on board, Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager.
brother, Burt Rutan, who is a world-renowned airplane
designer, designed the airplane.
Voyager was built in Mojave, California. It took five years
to build and test the airplane before taking off on its
remarkable record-setting flight.
were 99 ground volunteers that participated in the flight
with weather, communications, fabrication, office staff,
gift shop staff and more.
individual contributions, and a few product equipment
sponsors financed the Voyager. The project did not receive
any government sponsorship.
days after landing, President Ronald Reagan presented the
Voyager crew and it's designer with the Presidential
Citizenship Medal, awarded only 16 times previously in
Voyager Aircraft is on permanent display at the Smithsonian
Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington,
FLYER idea originated with VOYAGER PILOT
Burt Rutan is
probably the most innovative airplane designer in recent
history. He designed the tiny single-seat jet, which you may
have seen in one of the James Bond movies, as well as a number
of other airplanes. He completely revolutionized private plane
designs with his Veri-EZ design that looks as though it is
flying backwards. Most notably, however, Burt designed the
Voyager aircraft in which his brother Dick and Chuck Yeager's
daughter, Jeane flew completely around the world, non-stop and
without refueling in flight. Most experts believed that this
feat could never be done.
some folks in this world may resist others attempting to exceed
their achievements, the first man to fly around the world
without refueling doesn't. Dick Rutan who, with Jeana
Yeager, circumnavigated the world in 1986 in an airplane called
Voyager, originated the idea for GlobalOne, the airplane
unveiled here last week for an effort to fly solo around the
years ago we were sitting around at Barron Hilton's ranch,"
recalled Steve Fossett, who will pilot the unusual airplane
designed and built by Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites.
"Dick said he had an idea, something really important to do
in aviation, to fly around the world solo nonstop," Fossett
said as the remnants of artificial fog from a spectacular,
disco-style unveiling swirled around the room. "I was
immediately interested," and Rutan said his brother Burt
had a concept for an airplane that could do the job, and that
perhaps Fossett might want to talk to him. "I
certainly did want to talk to him, Dick introduced me to Burt,
and we started it off," the land, sea, and air
brother, Dick, completed the challenge in Voyager, with Jeane
years later, Burt has designed an airplane, Scaled Composites
has built an airplane, and it's here today, ready to roll out
and start testing," he said. Dick Rutan said he
supports the project. "I like to see these things
happen - it's an advancement in technology, and it's amazing
what 20 years of learning, from a rickety little airplane down
at low altitude getting beat-up by the weather, taking nine
days, now we can" fly in comfort in the stratosphere in
just a "handful of hours."
Rutan said "These kinds of things never come to us from our
governments, regardless of who we vote for today - they come
from people like you, so that we can have the support for
mankind's achievement - without your support, these things don't
happen." Rutan also thanked the "small
development team at Scaled that labored for about 14 months to
build what I think is probably the most beautiful airplane in
been 20 years since Voyager was built right here on this
flightline, and it's given us the opportunity to apply 20 years
of knowledge and experience and capabilities to allow something
we thought was impossible 20 years ago, and that is to make a
round-the-world, non-refueled flight in the stratosphere, using
an efficient turbofan engine - that was something we did not
think of back when Voyager was done," Rutan said.
is an airplane with world-class aerodynamic efficiency that will
be 82-percent fuel by weight when it takes off. Responding to a
reporter's question, Rutan said that a Boeing 747 with
82-percent of its weight in fuel "would not get off the
ground," and that, lacking an engine that was twice as
efficient as current engines, the jumbo jet could not fly around
the world without refueling.
said the airplane's lift-to-drag ratio, a measure of aerodynamic
efficiency, is similar to that of an efficient, competition
sailplane rather than that of a conventional airplane.
Fossett said tolerances in the airplane's contraction are quite
close and that the biggest risk of the flight is at from
structural failure at takeoff and from turbulence during climb
concept from Dick's brother Burt Rutan
would be unrecoverable to have a structural failure at low
altitude or even to get out of the airplane," Fossett said.
Engine failure during the 80-hour flight is an additional risk,
but Fossett and Rutan said the airplane's Williams jet engine is
highly reliable and was selected over a propellor engine because
of its reliability.
this will be a test," he said. Echoing his brother,
Burt Rutan noted that some of the biggest risks during the
Voyager flight came from the need to fly quite low to avoid
turbulence. "The beauty of
this one is that because of its turbofan engine it's going to be
flying above most of the weather," he said.
biggest risks will be at takeoff and landing," with a very
small margin on its ability to get off a very long runway
(estimated at 8,000-feet) and will climb very slowly until the
landing gear is retracted. "Probably a bigger risk is
the landing because even though this is a large, turbofan engine
with a 114-foot wingspan, it will have a stall speed of only
about 56 knots when it comes back," Rutan said.
"If there is a gusty crosswind and a likely little bit
tired pilot, that's going to be very risky," he said.
that the airplane will be full of fuel, Rutan said it's like a
watermelon - "and you're real careful not to drop a ripe
watermelon." Rutan also said that flight testing the
airplane poses a challenge because its configuration will vary
according to the amount of fuel on board, making it somewhat
like several different airplanes at a time.
said the flight will be "the last great aviation record on
earth," noting that Charles Lindbergh was hallucinating
after 30 hours of his transatlantic flight and Fossett will be
in their air for 80 hours. "I think (the flight) will
one day be compared to the achievement of Lindbergh,"
Branson said. Flight testing of GlobalFlyer is expected to
begin in about a month, and the round-the-world flight will
probably wait until October to take advantage of the jet stream.
The flight will take off and land at an airfield somewhere in
the U.S. Middle West.
a lighter note Fossett was asked if he was going to "cross
his legs" for the full 80 hours. He said he plans to
use "baggies," which can't be tossed out the window
because the airplane will be pressurized. (Later, Dick Rutan
said that is essentially what he and Jeane Yeager used during
their 1986 flight - some things haven't advanced!) "I
think I have to have strong bags!" Fossett said.
IF DOCUMENT 225210 IS FOR SALE RIGHT NOW!!
Photograph inscribed and signed: "To Julian/Dare to Live
Your Dreams/Jeane Yeager" and "Dick Rutan".
B/w, 8x10. The two record-setting pilots took off aboard their Voyager
aircraft from Edwards Air Force Base, California on December 14,
1986. On December 23, 1986, nine days, three minutes and 44
seconds later, after a flight of 24,987 miles, the Voyager
landed back at Edwards. It had circled the earth without
refueling! Today, Voyager can be seen in the National Air
and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. Fine condition.
California City News Events
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out California City the best known secret in the High Desert
Estate for sale in California City
photograph of Dick Rutan and Jeane Yeager featured was
available for sale in a previous auction. It may or
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OF WORLD AIR NAVIGATION RECORDS
1924 four Douglas World Cruisers and eight American crewmen set
out from Seattle, Washington, to attempt the first
around-the-world airplane flight. One hundred seventy-five days
later three of the aircraft and crews became the first to
Douglas World Cruiser biplane was a variant of the Navy's DT-2
torpedo bomber that could be operated either with wheels or
floats. The prototype was delivered 45 days after the contract
was let in summer 1923. Tests were successful, and four more
aircraft were ordered. Each of the aircraft was named after a US
city representing a compass point: Seattle, crewed by
Maj. Frederick Martin (pilot and flight commander) and SSgt.
Alva Harvey (flight mechanic); Chicago, crewed by Lt.
Lowell H. Smith (pilot) and 1st Lt. Leslie Arnold; Boston,
with 1st Lt. Leigh P. Wade (pilot) and SSgt. Henry H. Ogden
aboard; and New Orleans, with Lt. Erik Nelson (pilot) and
Lt. Jack Harding in the cockpits.
success was largely a result of extensive planning; 30 spare
engines were dispatched all over the world prior to the flight;
with co-operation of the Royal Air Force and the US Navy, 28
nations supplied thousands of gallons of fuel and oil along the
airplanes left Seattle, Washington, on 6 April 1924 and headed
west, equipped with the latest navigational aids. Even so, fog,
blizzards, thunderstorms and sand storms took a toll. On April
30, Seattle crashed in dense fog on a mountainside near
Port Moller on the Alaska Peninsula. Major Martin and Sergeant
Harvey hiked out of the wilderness. The remaining crews
continued, flying on to Japan, Southeast Asia, India, the Middle
East, Europe, England, and Ireland. On 3 August Boston
was forced down in the North Atlantic, sinking in rough seas
while being towed.
prototype was dispatched to Nova Scotia, where Lieutenant Wade
and Sergeant Ogden renamed the aircraft Boston II and
rejoined the flight. The crews stopped in several US cities and
returned triumphantly to Seattle on 28 September.
In 1964 Geraldine "Jerri" Mock the first woman to fly
solo around the world in a
Cessna 180 named 'Spirit of Columbus'
For more info, spread your wings toward the women's pilot
trip had totalled 175 days, covering 44 360 km (27,553 miles),
with stops in 61 cities, the total flying time being 371 hours,
years later, in 1933, it took another American, Wiley Post,
only 7 days to be the first to fly solo around the world.
Between July 15 and 22, Post covered 25 110 km (15,596 miles) in
7 days, 18 hours and 49 minutes in one of the most remarkable
displays of flying endurance of the century. Post's single
engine Lockheed Vega, the Winnie Mae was equipped with a
Sperry automatic pilot, a radio direction finder, and other new
in 1931, ex-barnstormer Post and navigator Harold Gatty had
thrilled the nation by dashing around the world in the Winnie
Mae. The flight was not only a great technical achievement, but
one which demanded extraordinary fortitude. For over 106 hours,
neither Post nor Gatty had an opportunity to sleep. The flight's
elapsed time of 8 days, 15 hours and 51 minutes far surpassed
the previous record of 21 days set in 1929 by the airship Graf
first non-stop flight around the world was made by,
again, a team of the US Air Force flyers in 1949. Taking off
from Carswell Air Force base in Fort Worth, Texas on 26
February, Captain James Gallagher and a crew of 14 headed east
in a B-50 Superfortress, called Lucky Lady II. They were
refuelled four times in air by KB-29 tanker planes of the 43rd
Air Refuelling Squadron, over the Azores, Saudi Arabia, the
Philippines and Hawaii. The circumnavigation was completed on 2
March, having travelled 94 hours and 1 minute, covering 37 743
km (23,452 miles) at an average 398 km/h (249 mph).
1949 Captain James Gallagher and crew of 14 took Lucky Lady II
made first nonstop flight around the world.
were refuelled four times in-air by KB-29 tanker planes.
next quest was to fly around the world, nonstop, non-refuelling.
By 1986 designer Burt Rutan and pilots Dick Rutan and Jeana
Yeager had devoted over five years to building and
flight-testing the Voyager. The canard wing design, or
forward elevator, similar to that successfully used by the
Wright brothers in 1903, provided additional lift and improved
the plane's efficiency and range. A preliminary sketch of the
1903 Wright Flyer was drawn on a brown paper bag in the Wrights'
living quarters in 1902. Coincidentally, the first sketch of the
Voyager was made on a paper lunch napkin in 1980.
of graphite composites, Voyager's total weight was 4 050 kg (9
000 pounds), including an unprecedented 3150 kg (7 000 pounds)
of fuel. On 14 December 1986 Richard Rutan and Jeana Yeager took
off from Edwards, California, piloting the Voyager from a
cramped 2,3 m (7.5 ft) long, 1,1 m (3.3 ft) wide and 1m (3 ft)
tall cockpit. Voyager's takeoff weight was more than 10 times
the structural weight, but its drag was lower than almost any
other powered aircraft. Voyager's wingtips sustained minor
damage during its takeoff roll because of the massive amount of
fuel. Approximately 75 cm (2.5 ft) of graphite skin was missing
from the left wing's foam core.
at an average speed of 185 km/h (115.8 mph), it took the Voyager
9 days, 3 minutes and 44 seconds to become the first aircraft to
circumnavigate the globe nonstop, non-refuelling. They
triumphantly landed again at the Edwards Air Force Base at 8:06
a.m. PST 23 December 1987.
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