The first fliers around the world were Army Air Corps Lts. Lowell Smith and Erik Nelson. Their 1924 flight was a hopscotch by biplane that took almost six months.
Then came circumnavigations by Wiley Post and Air Force bombers and a stick airplane named Voyager. Last year, a stock business jet trimmed the record to under two days.
Today, Clay Lacy of Van Nuys, a captain for United Airlines, will take off from Seattle's Boeing Field and attempt to become the latest and the fastest around this old and well-crossed world.
He wants to make the 23,000-mile flight in 40 hours.
Lacy, 56, will be at the controls of Friendship One, a 600-m.p.h. Boeing 747SP donated by United. He will depart Seattle at 7 tonight. There will be fast refueling stops at Athens and Taipei, and Lacy should be landing in Seattle at 8 a.m. Saturday.