Voyager, the first airplane to circumnavigate the earth nonstop on a single load of fuel. Designed by Burt Rutan and flown by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, Voyager took off from California on Dec. 14, 1986, and, after a 25,012 mi (40,269 km) flight, landed in the same place nine days later. The plane weighed only 1,858 lb (845 kg) without fuel but needed a wingspan of 110 ft (33 m) to lift its two pilots and 1,200 gal (4,560 liters) of fuel off the ground. Only a few gallons remained at the completion of the journey. In 2005, Steve Fossett piloted the GlobalFlyer, a jet plane also designed by Burt Rutan, in a solo nonstop flight around the world.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.