GlobalFlyer vs. Voyager
GlobalFlyer might go nonstop around the world, a feat Voyager accomplished in 1986. But that’s where the similarities end. With new aerodynamics, materials and design, Burt Rutan’s new craft is significantly more sophisticated than the old record breaker.
Aerodynamics: The GlobalFlyer team is using advanced computer technology—specifically, computational fluid dynamics—to vastly reduce the airplane’s drag and optimize the structure for long-range, exceptionally high-fuel-load flying.
Materials: The thousands of pounds of fuel in Voyager’s four-section wings made them droop down to the runway, where they scraped against the ground during takeoff. In order to avoid the same problem, GlobalFlyer’s wings are constructed of a single 100-foot-long piece of reinforced composite.
Design: Without horizontal tails to stabilize it, Voyager flexed and twisted in ways that made it hard to control. GlobalFlyer has complete tail assemblies, which dampen unwanted up-and-down movement.