The Scaled Composites Model 311 Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer (N277SF) is an aircraft designed by Burt Rutan which Steve Fossett flew in a non-stop solo trip around the world from February 28, 2005 until March 3, 2005. The feat matched the distance set by the previous Rutan-designed Voyager aircraft and set several world records for being the fastest non-stop, unrefuelled circumnavigation. The attempt was described as Ã¯Â¿Â½the last great aviation record attemptÃ¯Â¿Â½, and was the first time a solo, non-stop, jet-powered and unrefuelled circumnavigation had been successful.
The aircraft was financed by Richard BransonÃ¯Â¿Â½s airline, Virgin Atlantic, and built by Burt RutanÃ¯Â¿Â½s company, Scaled Composites. The companies had previously announced a combined effort for Virgin Galactic.
Between February 7, 2006 €šÃ¯Â¿Â½šÃ¯Â¿Â½Ã¯Â¿Â½Ã¯Â¿Â½Ã¯Â¿Â½Ã¯Â¿Â½Ã¯Â¿Â½Ã¯Â¿Â½šÃ¯Â¿Â½Ã¯Â¿Â½Ã¯Â¿Â½Ã¯Â¿Â½Ã¯Â¿Â½Ã¯Â¿Â½Ã¯Â¿Â½Ã¯Â¿Â½ February 11, 2006, Fossett and GlobalFlyer set a record for the longest flight in history: 26,389.3 miles (42,469.46 km).
The GlobalFlyer is the first jet aircraft designed for an uninterrupted circumnavigation of the globe and unusually, has just a single jet engine.
Physically, the GlobalFlyer aircraft resembles an enlarged, slender P-38 Lightning, with twin tail booms mounted outboard of a smaller, central nacelle. The pressurised cockpit is mounted on the leading edge of the center pod and provides seven feet of space in which the pilot sits. Unlike the P-38, or similar twin-tail designs, the solitary turbofan engine is mounted atop the manned central fuselage, several feet behind the cockpit. The outboard tail booms instead contain fuel, and end in control surfaces which are not cross-connected.
The aircraft is constructed of carbon fiber reinforced epoxy, the main structural member being a slender single piece 37 m wing. The wings are made of sturdy composite materials with the skin of the aircraft being a graphite/epoxy and Aramid honeycomb. The use of lightweight materials permits the fuel to comprise 82% of the take-off weight: an unusually high ratio in the aviation world.
The aircraftÃ¯Â¿Â½s aerodynamic design is such that, during the descent phase, tail parachutes must introduce sufficient drag to allow for a safe landing speed.
The Voyager aircraft suffered from design flaws that made it warp in shape very easily, so the GlobalFlyer is designed to have greater stiffness. It is also designed to fly much faster than the Voyager, mainly due to the endurance constraint dictated by the choice of a solo pilot; as a consequence, the VoyagerÃ¯Â¿Â½s propeller system was replaced with a turbofan powerplant.
The GlobalFlyer is designed to operate at high altitudes, where the air is colder. Despite this, external heaters were not included in the design. As a consequence of this, there was some concern that, if the aircraft was to use standard jet fuel, the fuel might freeze. Therefore, the GlobalFlyerÃ¯Â¿Â½s engine, a Williams International FJ44-3 ATW turbofan, which would normally take Jet-A fuel, was modified to burn lower-freezing JP-4 fuel, which is a 50-50 mix of kerosene and gasoline.The round-the-world attempt was scheduled for early January 2005 after 27 testflights not fully fueled, from the 12,300 ft (3,750 m) runway of the municipal airport in Salina, Kansas. However, a late problem with delivering the aircraft to Salina meant that the attempt was pushed back to 28 February 2005.
Mission Control was at the adjacent Salina campus of Kansas State University, and proved to be an extremely high-tech affair.
A tail wind was essential to making the 36,787.559 km (22,858.755 miles) that it needed to fly in order to meet the FAIÃ¯Â¿Â½s definition of circumnavigation, the length of the Tropic of Cancer. This meant that the last few hundred miles would be fairly tense, as by that point the aircraft would be nearly out of fuel. As it turned out, GlobalFlyerÃ¯Â¿Â½s fuel sensors indicated that the plane had possibly lost about 1,200 kg (2,600 lb) of fuel early in the flight. This forced Fossett and Mission Control to decide whether to abort the flight as it reached the Pacific Ocean near Japan. Fossett chose to delay the final decision until he reached Hawaii; by that time, favorable winds encouraged the mission team to go ahead and attempt to complete the circumnavigation.
Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer landed at Salina at 19:50 UTC (13:50 CST) on 3 March 2005, having completed its circumnavigation in 2 days 19 hours 1 minute 46 seconds. The distance flown was determined to be 36,817 km, only about 30 km above the minimum distance required.
Note: Since 1986, the FAI has changed the geometric requirements for circumnavigation of the world. In 1986 the Voyager was required to pass the equator, flying in both the northern and the southern hemisphere. This criterion no longer applies, allowing the pilot more flexibility in seeking tailwinds.
On Thursday, December 23, 2005, Steve Fossett announced plans to perform a second circumnavigation in the GlobalFlyer, this time taking off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, flying eastbound and landing at Kent International Airport in Kent, England.
The flight was known as Ã¯Â¿Â½The Ultimate FlightÃ¯Â¿Â½ and intended to set the absolute record for the furthest flight distance ever.
On Wednesday, February 8, 2006, at 12:22 (UTC), GlobalFlyer took off and flew eastbound from Kennedy Space Center, and landed after a flight duration of 76 hours 45 minutes having travelled 26,389.3 miles (42,469.46 km).
GlobalFlyer at the Kennedy Space CenterThis distance set a new record for the longest ever aircraft flight in history, breaking the old records of 24,987 miles in an airplane and 25,361 miles in a balloon. The landing was made at Bournemouth Airport, Fossett having declared an emergency and diverting because of a generator failure at 40,000 feet. Generator failure meant that he had about 25 minutes until his batteries were exhausted, when he would have lost all electrical power. To add to the drama, two tires burst during the landing and the fuel remaining was found only to be 200lbs.
Aside from that, there were some relatively minor pieces of damage, such as a broken aileron hinge and a jammed intake valve, but otherwise the aircraft survived remarkably intact
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We can also make bespoke scale replicas of any other private / civil commercial airliner or airliners, helicopter, glider, gliders with engines, military jet, warplane jets, propeller warplanes, biplane, triplane, tail fin, spacecraft, rocket or NASA model you require in any airline, military or civilian livery or colors. We also produce Gerrry Anderson models, model airship, blimp, dirigible, blimps, boat,and ship collectibles. Wall plaque or seal for military, government or private customers. Wholesale and retail and general customization inquiries welcome.