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Great aviators don’t care that their dream project appears impossible. And though a round-the-world flight on one tank of gas appears unimaginable, Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager made it happen in 1986. The airplane that made the concept a reality was the Voyager — a minimalistic but aerodynamically efficient carbon fiber airframe designed by Dick’s brother, engineering legend Burt Rutan. The Voyager carried 7,011.5 pounds of fuel when it began its takeoff roll from Edwards Air Force Base, and it was barely able to evade disaster when the weight-laden wingtips sent sparks flying as they scraped the tarmac. After a little more than nine days, Rutan and Yeager completed their historic mission and landed the Voyager safely back at Edwards.

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