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Anniversary of Voyager Marked Over Breakfast

December 24, 1987|Associated Press

MOJAVE — One year ago the Voyager crew celebrated a victory of global proportions, but Wednesday's anniversary hoopla was down to earth--the raising of coffee cups over sausage and eggs.

Voyager, the spindly plane that made aviation history when it flew around the world without refueling, touched down at Edwards Air Force Base near here at 8:06 a.m. Dec. 23, 1986.

The 24,986-mile, around-the-world trip took pilots Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager nine days and four minutes.

Rutan, Yeager Absent

On Wednesday, a dozen members of the flight crew--minus Rutan and Yeager--celebrated the aviation feat with breakfast at Reno's restaurant.

"They all had sausage and eggs with biscuits and gravy," said waiter Jorge Oceguera, who served the 12 people in a dining room reserved for the Voyager party.

At 8:06 a.m., they raised their coffee cups to toast the anniversary, then they passed around Voyager souvenir books to get autographs, Oceguera said. The party broke up about 8:30 a.m., leaving what Oceguera called a generous tip.

Gary Gunnell, general manager of Voyager, said Rutan and Yeager could not be part of it because they were in England on a book promotion tour and not due back until Sunday.

There was a celebration in Washington on Dec. 14, the takeoff anniversary, so on Wednesday, the party was low-key, Gunnell said.

Joining Gunnell at the breakfast were Burt Rutan, Voyager's designer and Dick Rutan's brother; Chris Wiser, a volunteer engineer; Glen Maben, the aircraft inspector; Mike Melville, the only other person to ever pilot Voyager; Sally Melville, an engineer and computer technician, and Kelly Chandler, Gunnell's daughter and Voyager's secretary, receptionist and computer operator.

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