Flight endurance record

Flight endurance record

The flight endurance record is the amount of time spent in the air. It can be a solo event, or multiple people can take turns piloting the aircraft in shifts. The limit initially was the amount of fuel that could be stored for the flight, but midair refueling extended that parameter.

Fixed-wing aircraft

Non commercial

*1986 Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager completed a non-refueled flight of 9 days (216 hours), 3 minutes and 44 seconds when they flew the Rutan Voyager around the world, a distance of over 40,000 km (25,000 miles).

*1935 Brothers Al and Fred Key: remained aloft 27 days, 5 hours, and 34 minutes over Meridian, Mississippi using a spill-free mid-air refuelling nozzle that they invented.

*Robert Timm and John Cook remained aloft 64 days, 22 hours, 19 minutes, 5 seconds from December 4th 1958 to February 7th 1959 in a Cessna 172. They refueled in air by lowering a rope and hoisting a hose up from a fuel truck while one driver steered down long straight roads in the Mojave desert and another operated the gas pedal to match speeds with the aircraft. They also hoisted supplies and occasionally water for a sponge bath. The flight was terminated when the engine deteriorated to the point that they could no longer climb away from the fuel truck. The Cessna 172 hangs from the ceiling of the baggage claim area at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas; a small display commemorating the record flight is in the museum area overlooking the baggage clam area.


*The Lockheed Constellation L-1649A still holds the record for the longest-duration non-stop passenger flight — during TWA's inaugural London to San Francisco flight on 1-2 October, 1957, the aircraft stayed aloft for 23 hours and 19 minutes.


*An uncrewed scientific balloon set an endurance record after circling the South Pole three times. On its flight, which ended 2 hours short of 42 days, NASA's Cosmic Ray Energetics and Mass (CREAM) instrument captured high-energy cosmic rays that may have come from supernovae. The previous record was held by NASA's Trans-Iron Galactic Element Recorder balloon mission, which stayed afloat over Antarctica for almost 32 days in 2002. [http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn6945]


* Charles Atger of France flew an Arsenal Air 100 glider for 56h 15m until 2 April 1952 at Romanin les Alpilles near Saint-Rémy-de-Provence in France. [ [http://records.fai.org/gliding/history.asp?id1=D1&id2=1&id3=3 Glider duration record] ] After this, endurance records were discontinued as pointless and because of the danger of pilots falling asleep [ [http://records.fai.org/gliding/history.asp?id1=D1&id2=1&id3=3 FAI web site on gliding records] ] [ [http://www.coloradosoaring.org/ssa/coll/soarfaq.htm Mention of discontinuation of record on grounds of safety] ] .


* Between 8 January 1994 and 22 March 1995, Valeriy Polyakov spent 437 days in space, onboard the Russian space station Mir. While he does not hold the record for total time in space, (Sergei Krikalyov has spent 803 days in space) Polyakov has the record for most time continuously spent in space.


*New York Times; May 29, 1931; Set Flight Record Without Refueling; Lees And Brossy, 84:33 Hours In Air, Recapture World Mark From France. Land On Florida Beach Take-Off In Diesel-Motor Plane Was Made Early Monday. Pair Slept Easily In Craft. Throngs Held Back For Landing. Set Flight Record Without Refueling Storm Threat Blows Over. Not Tired By 6,600-Mile Grind. Lees Once Drove Horse Car.
*Jacksonville, Florida, May 28, 1931 Walter Lees and Frederick Brossy, Detroit aviators, established a new world's record of 84 hours and 33 minutes for a non-refueling fixed-wing aircraft flight when they landed at Jacksonville Beach at 7:20 o'clock, Eastern [Standard Time] ...

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