Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager met at an airshow in Chino, California, in the late 1970s. Both of them were experienced pilots.
Rutan had started taking flying lessons when he was 15 and had earned his pilot’s license a year later. He then served as a navigator and fighter pilot in the Air Force during the Vietnam War.
After leaving the Air Force, he became a test pilot for his brother, Burt, an airplane designer. Yeager earned her pilot’s license in 1978 and also became a test pilot for the Rutan Company.
In 1981, Yeager and Burt and Dick Rutan sat at lunch and discussed building a plane that could fly around the world without stopping or refueling.
For the next five years, Burt drew up designs for the aircraft while Yeager and Dick raised money to build it. They called the airplane Voyager.