On this day in 1986, the Rutan Model 76 Voyager took off from Edwards Air Force Base in California’s Mojave Desert. Nine days later, it became the first aircraft to fly around the world with stopping or refueling.
The plane was loaded with fuel and piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager. The two were closely cramped in the plane, which only added to their exhausting conditions. When Voyager landed in California in front of a crowd of 55,000 on December 23, it only had about 1.5 percent of fuel left in its tanks.
Voyager was retired from service in 1987. Today, it hangs prominently in the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum.