August 19, 2017
National Aviation Day falls on the birthday of Orville Wright, who along with his brother Wilbur started it all with their historic powered flight. The inaugural of all inaugurals. President Franklin D. Roosevelt designated it a National Day in 1939 and ever since we have been celebrating all the wonderful aircraft that have graced our skies over the years.
When you think of Virgin Atlantic aircraft, you instantly picture our modern fleet of Airbus A330 and A340 and Boeing 747 and 787 aircraft. But over the years our logo has been painted on a selection of the weird and wonderful aircraft. Here we look back at a few of them.
Read all about Vintage Airways
Steve Fossett made four record-setting flights in the Global Flyer. First nonstop solo flight around the world in just over 67 hours (February 28-March 2, 2005). On that trip he also set an around-the-world speed record (551 kilometers/342 miles per hour). The following year he set an absolute distance record, flying from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, around the world and landing in Bournemouth, England, in just under 77 hours travelling 25,766 miles. Finally, he set a closed-course distance record over Salina, Kansas, in 74½ hours (March 14-17, 2006; 40,721 kilometers/25,506 miles).
The all-composite Global Flyer was designed and built by Scaled Composites under the direction of Burt Rutan who also built the Virgin Galactic space ships. The Globalflyer holds 2,915 gallons of fuel which accounts for 83% of its take off weight