Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer

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This object is on display in the Commercial Aviation at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Commercial Aviation

In 2005 and 2006, accomplished aviator, balloonist, and sailor Steve Fossett made three absolute record-setting flights in the turbofan-powered Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer. He became the first to fly nonstop, solo around the world, flying from and returning to Salina, Kansas, in just over 67 hours (February 28-March 2, 2005). On that trip he also set an around-the-world speed record (551 kilometers/342 miles per hour). Then he set an absolute distance record, flying from NASA's Kennedy Space Center around the world and landing in Bournemouth, England, in just under 77 hours (February 8-11, 2006; 41,467 kilometers/ 25,766 miles). Finally he set a closed-course distance record over Salina, Kansas, in 74½ hours (March 14-17, 2006; 40,721 kilometers/25,506 miles).

The all-composite Global Flyer was designed and built by Scaled Composites under the direction of Burt Rutan. It contains 13 tanks that hold 11,034 L (2,915 gallons) of fuel. Eighty three percent of the maximum weight is fuel.