Burt designed the Voyager in a large H shape, with the main wing in the rear. The wing, at 111 feet, was longer than the wingspan of a 727 passenger airliner.
Burt used light materials made from epoxy and engines that drove the craft 80 miles per hour. While one pilot guided the controls, the other rested in a narrow cabin three feet wide.
In July 1986, Dick and Jeana flew the plane up and down the California coast for four and a half days, covering 11,000 miles. On December 14, 1986, Dick and Jeana took off from Edwards Air Force Base in California to fulfill their dream of flying around the world.
While one pilot slept for two or three hours at a time and ate precooked meals, the other steered the Voyager toward the Pacific. They ran into a typhoon near the Philippines that buffeted the plane and propelled it to 147 miles per hour.
They hit more storms over India, shaking the plane so violently that Yeager was badly bruised. Another near disaster occurred on the coast of Africa, when Dick momentarily lost control of the aircraft. Yeager guided the plane in the dark over Central America.
On December 23, 1986, Dick landed the plane at Edwards Air Force Base, one day ahead of schedule. They had done it. In nine days, they had circled the world without stopping or refueling.
Yeager and Dick were awarded the Presidential Citizen’s Medal by President Ronald Reagan and the Voyager was hung in the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.