And so it was that on December 14, 1986 with Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager on board Voyager began its historic trip at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Filled to capacity with fuel for the flight the plane's weight ballooned to an elephantine 9700 lbs and it would need to use nearly 3 miles of runway in order to achieve takeoff. During that takeoff run the fuel-laden wingtips actually scraped along the tarmac and were permanently damaged, though it was determined that the damage didn't pose any obvious risk to the flight.
After 9 days of flight at an average speed of 116 mph Voyager and her exhausted crew touched down where they started at Edwards with the world's press in attendance to record the event. Their long journey from napkin to history book complete.
|Jeana Yeager and Dick Rutan emerge from Voyager after completing their historic flight.|