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As long as an early August flight to Orlando
with 10 screaming babies behind you might seem,
it’s not the longest flight in history.
In fact, the longest flight ever is not even
the 8,000 mile trip from Dubai to San Francisco
or even the 9,000 mile flight from Auckland to Doha.
It wasn’t even that time when Pakistan International Airlines
flew from Hong Kong to London the wrong way round
or even that time in 2005 when
a pilot circumnavigated the world from Kansas to Kansas non-stop
or even that time in 2006
when the same pilot flew from Florida
to England with an extra circumnavigation for good measure.
The longest flight in history
started in 1958 in a single engine Cessna 172
over the skies of New Mexico
and didn’t end until 1959.
In 1956, the Hacienda hotel opened in Las Vegas, Nevada,
but it had a problem.
It really wasn’t in a good place.
I mean a good place within Vegas, animator.
All the popular casinos were over a mile north
so the owners desperately needed publicity.
Luckily, one of the slot machine mechanics, Robert Timm, came up with an idea.
He was going to break the flight endurance record
and Hacienda hotel was going to help
In exchange for prominently painting “Hacienda” on the side of the plane,
the owners of the hotel gave Timm $100,000 to fund the flight.
Now with money, Robert Timm bought a used Cessna 172
and got to work on some modifications.
He installed an extra 95 gallon fuel tank, modified the oil lines
to he could replace the oil while in flight,
and removed everything from the interior but the pilot’s seat.
He then put a small mattress in the front and a small sink in the rear
and lastly, he replaced the engine with a brand new one
and he was good to go.
But then he received some bad news.
Jim Heath and Bill Burkhart had just landed their plane in Dallas
Jim Heath和Bill Burkhart刚刚结束了他们50天的飞行
after 50 days in the air.
The record to beat was now four days longer.
But the good news was that Timm found a co-pilot, John Cook
—no, not Professional Golfer John Cook
不 不是职业高尔夫球手John Cook
or former mayor of El Paso John Cook,
this John Cook, experienced airline pilot and mechanic John Cook.
The pair finished up their alterations
and then took off on National Cookie Day—that’s December 4th
if you’re out of the know—bound for nowhere but the record books.
For the first few days they flew the plane just around Las Vegas
so they would have an airport to land at in case of issues,
but soon after they ventured south
to fly over the deserts of California and Arizona.
But what I’m sure you’re wondering is how they refueled.
They didn’t do air to air refueling
and it wasn’t a solar powered airplane or anything like that.
Robert Timm and John Cook refueled their airplane
本着打破记录的目的 Robert Timm和John Cook
on their record breaking attempt
by matching speed with a pickup truck
and dropping a fuel line down.
For a full three minutes twice per day
the truck and plane went along a deserted stretch of highway like that.
For food, the restaurant of the Hacienda Hotel prepared gourmet meals
that were hoisted up to the airplane by rope.
The pair took turns flying for four hours, then sleeping for the next four.
The flight initially went smoothly.
Christmas and the new year came and went
with no major mechanical issues,
but the isolation and exhaustion from the flight started to get to the pilots.
Cessna’s are small and loud
—hardly a good home for weeks upon weeks.
On day 36, the pair narrowly avoided disaster.
In the early hours of the morning Cook was having his rest
while Timm was in the pilot seat flying the plane,
until he dozed off.
Luckily the autopilot was engaged
so the plane flew for a full hour halfway
to the Mexican border
before Timm woke up.
On day 39 the generator failed
which meant the plane had no heat, no light, and no autopilot.
But they were nearing the record.
11 more days of flying passed,
then, on day 50, January 23rd,
the Hacienda Cessna 172 broke the record
for the longest continuous flight in history,
but they weren’t done yet.
Timm and Cook pressed on,
determined to make their record last.
As 50 days became 60
the engine started to become weaker and weaker
as carbon clogged the combustion chambers
and they could barely gain any altitude.
It was time to land.
So, on February 7th, 1959,
after 64 days, 22 hours, and 19 minutes
在经历了64天 22小时 19分钟
and 150,000 miles of flying,
the Hacienda Cessna 172 touched back down at McCarren Field
and cemented its place in the record books,
a record that still stands today.
If you want to break the flight endurance record,
you’ll need a solid grasp of the fundamental forces of flight
like lift and drag.
Luckily, I know just the place where you learn exactly that.
Brilliant.org is a fantastic online learning platform
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For example, in their classical mechanics course
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how to calculate the hypothetical maximum flight duration for a Drone
since as you put more batteries in a drone
you need more power which requires more batteries.
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This video was made possible by Brilliant.org.