Rutan Voyager

The first aircraft to fly non-stop around the world without refuelling, Voyager completed its epic flight on 23 December 1986. The gruelling round trip from Edwards Air Force Base in California, took nine days, three minutes, and 44 seconds. Voyager was designed by engineer Burt Rutan and piloted by his brother, Dick, together with Jeana Yeager. It began as little more than a sketched idea on a napkin during a lunch in 1981. To realize their dream of non-stop circumnavigation, the Rutans needed an aircraft that was light enough to reach maximum efficiency, strong enough to sustain extremely long distance flight, and capable of carrying enough fuel for the entire journey.
Voyager was the result.
Made almost entirely of light weigh I space-age composites. Voyager’s design was geared towards maximum fuel efficiency. Although both of the light, fuel-efficient petrol engines were used during take-off and landing, only the aft engine was used in flight. The pilots were housed in a slender central nacelle split into a telephone box-sized cockpit and a cramped cabin. Rutan’s trademark canard an extra wing at the front of the fuselage, helped maximize speed; to increase rigidity, both canard and main wing were attached to the fuselage and outriggers.

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