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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.
The Cessna 172 used by Robert Timm and John Cook|
- 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).
- 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 (1,558+ hours continuous running). 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 claim area.
- Yuma also gained national recognition in 1949 with the world record Endurance Flight by pilots Bob Woodhouse and Woody Jongeward. The duo flew a 1948 Aeronca Sedan, named the City of Yuma, continuously for 1,124 hours from Aug. 24 to Oct. 10. The purpose of the record-setting flight was to draw attention to how good the flying weather was in Yuma, and to persuade government officials to reopen the air base.
- 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 (approximately 5,350 miles at 229.4 mph).
- 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.
- 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.After this, endurance records were discontinued as pointless and because of the danger of pilots falling asleep.
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Published - July 2009
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