First non-stop flight around the world
The first non-stop circumnavigation by air was made by 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 refueled four times in air by KB-29 tanker planes of the 43rd Air Refueling Squadron, over the Azores, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines and Hawaii. The circumnavigation was completed on 2 March, having traveled 94 hours and 1 minute, covering 37 743 km (23,452 miles) at an average 398 km/h (249 mph). 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.