|Full name||Jeana Lee Yeager|
May 18, 1952 |
Fort Worth, Texas
William Z. Williams (1992–1994)
Dale A. Rinehart (1994–1996)
|Famous flights||The first non-stop, non-refueled flight around the world with Dick Rutan|
|Awards||Presidential Citizens Medal
FAI De la Vaulx Medal
Edward Longstreth Medal
Jeana Yeager is an American aviator. She co-piloted, along with Dick Rutan, the first non-stop, non-refueled flight around the world in the Rutan Voyager aircraft from December 14 to 23, 1986. The flight took 9 days, 3 minutes, and 44 seconds and covered 24,986 miles (40,211 km), more than doubling the old distance record set by a Boeing B-52 bomber in 1962.
Jeana Lee Yeager was born on May 18, 1952, in Fort Worth, Texas, moving with her family to Garland, Texas; Oxnard, California; and Commerce, Texas. She is not related to aviator Chuck Yeager. Following graduation from high school, Yeager at age 19 married a police officer, but the couple divorced after five years of marriage. She worked as a draftsman and surveyor for a geothermal energy company in Santa Rosa, California, where she obtained her private pilot's license in 1978.
Jeana went to work for Robert Truax who was developing a reusable spacecraft. She met Dick Rutan in 1980 and they soon both set distance records in the Rutan VariEze and Long-EZ planes, designed by Dick's brother Burt Rutan. In early 1982, Jeana set a new women's speed record for the 2,000-kilometer closed course and in the fall of 1984 using the VariEze, she set the open-distance record of 2,427.1 statute miles.
Jeana and Dick Rutan decided to attempt to fly around the world without refueling. They formed Voyager Aircraft, Inc., and Burt Rutan began designing the aircraft. Initially unable to find a commercial sponsor, Jeana started the Voyager Impressive People (VIP) program which became the major source of money to build, test, and fly the aircraft. By mid-1986, Voyager was ready for the flight. She flew as copilot on the 216-hour flight and set a world's absolute distance record--the first time a woman had been listed in an absolute category.
In recognition of the Voyager flight, she received the Harmon Trophy, the FAI De la Vaulx Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal from President Ronald Reagan (1986) and is the first woman to have received the Collier Trophy--receiving the latter two honors along with Dick and Burt Rutan. She was also awarded the Edward Longstreth Medal from the Franklin Institute in 1988.
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- "T.C. Memo. 2003-109" (PDF). United States Tax Court. April 18, 2003. Retrieved Oct 23, 2015.
- Onkst, David H. "Dick Rutan, Jeana Yeager, and the Flight of the Voyager". U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission.
- "Jeana Yeager Was Not Just Along for the Ride". Los Angeles Times. December 24, 1986. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
- "Gathering of Eagles Foundation : Yeager, Jeana L.". Gathering of Eagles Foundation. Retrieved September 9, 2017.
- "Powered Aeroplanes World Records". Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. pp. Yeager – C–1b – Landplanes: take off weight 500 to 1000kg. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
- "Jeanna Yeager". Franklin Institute. Retrieved April 24, 2017.