The plane that stayed in the air flying for 64 days, 22 hours and 18 minutes

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In 1958, two pilots over a desert in the southwestern United States achieved a feat that has not been surpassed to this day: fly a plane two months in a row without a break. This is the story of the Cessna 172 and its two pilots Bob Timm and John Cook. Today the records in the air are somewhat different.


In the first decades of the 20th century for years aircraft pilots have been establishing air resistance records. The idea was to see who could get the most efficient flight without having to refuel. However, in 1923 the milestone of refueling for the first time in the air was achieved. With 37 hours and 15 minutes of flight, a new race began to see who could stay in the air the longest, consuming all the fuel that was necessary.

During the following years the 37 hours were surpassed until began to be counted in days and not in hours. By 1935 the record was already at 27 days, 5 hours and 34 minutes. Fourteen years later, in 1949, the record was already set at 46 days and 20 hours. But it went even higher, in 1958 the record stood at 50 days in the air, with a total of 1,200 hours and 16 minutes.

The fastest plane in the world: a beast that was able to fly at three times the speed of sound

Two months without touching ground

Since then, that figure has only been exceeded once more. It was in 1958 too and the two pilots who were on the plane they flew non-stop for 64 days, almost 65 days in fact. It all started when Bob Timm, a slot machine mechanic at the Hacienda Hotel in Las Vegas, had an idea. He proposed to the hotel owner to sponsor an endurance flight with the plane. With the hotel’s name painted on the side of the plane, the owner agreed to the idea.

Tax authorities

Before taking flight, Bob Timm first purchased a Cessna 172 aircraft and modified it for the feat. These modifications included removing the entire interior, adding an on-the-fly refueling platform or even a small “bathroom” so that the two pilots could easily wash themselves. With the plane prepared, they carried out different test flights to see how the plane behaved. Finally, On December 4, 1958, the two pilots took off with the Cessna 172 from McCarran Field in Las Vegas.

Hacienda Mccarran2

Evidently the plane needed refueling, as did the pilots with food and water. For it the plane descended twice a day near a highway in Las Vegas without ever touching the ground. At that time a tanker truck was lined up with the plane and through a special platform supplied fuel to the plane in flight. That’s how the pilots got food too. The refueling process was carried out 128 times during the 64 days of flight.

Refelling 1

As the days went by the plane began to weaken and suffer from failures. It was essentially running for two months, so it was certainly quite a feat that it didn’t fall apart sooner. The pilots, for their part, were also accumulating fatigue (they slept, but at interrupted times and on the noisy plane) and stress.

Refelling 2

This is how the two pilots they spent Christmas and New Years on the plane and flying over Nevada. By January 23, they had already broken the previous record, but they stayed in the air for two more weeks until February 7, 1959. It was at this time that they landed back at McCarran Field in Las Vegas, thus completing 64 days, 22 hours and 18 minutes of flight.

Via | AOPA, jalopnik Y Disciples Flight

In 1958, two pilots over a desert in the southwestern United States achieved a feat that has not been surpassed…

In 1958, two pilots over a desert in the southwestern United States achieved a feat that has not been surpassed…

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