Financing IhFiightof the Voyager

On the morning of December 23, 1986, Dick Rutan and leana Yeager landed their strange-looking canard aircraft at Edwards Air Force Base in California, culminating an historic 9-day, 25,000 mile nonstop circumnavigation of the globe without refueling. The plane is as stunning as the flight itself: an enormous flexible wing with a span of over 110 feet whose tips can move 30 feet up or down and has a

Sour«; D. E. Swanton, 'The Voyager Aircraft Odyssey," Project Management journal, April 1988.

surface area equivalent to that of a Boeing 727 airliner, a structural weight of only 2250 pounds but with a capacity for over 7000 pounds of fuel, a pusher and a puller engine, but the puller engine is turned off in flight, and numerous other such unexpected characteristics.

The flight itself was just as unusual. The noise level in the cockpit was too deafening for the two pilots to tolerate for nine days so a sine wave generator was installed to cancel the engine noise and piped into their earphones. A special oxygen supply was added to allow the plane to climb to the necessary 20,000 feet to fly over Africa. And the plane had a tendency to "porpoise" early in the flight and had to be continuously fought by the pilots for the first three days.

Yet, during the entire first two years of the project most of the time was not spent working on the plane, nor even on the flight plans—80 percent of the time was spent trying to raise funds! Volunteer project participants struggled from week to week for funding. With such a revolutionary concept and goal, the team thought it would be easy to secure corporate funding to back their efforts. With only one exception, no one, including Lee lacocca and Ross Perot, was willing to help them—the exception was a Japanese firm, whose offer was politely declined. As flight tests began, however, media coverage increased and the public awareness brought donations as well as some corporate sponsors for the plane's components. The primary reason the plane could be built at a minimal cost was the focus on simplicity and essentials. Eliminating the nonessential items saved time and money, and possibly weight, and may have been the real reason the project was able to be completed successfully!

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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