Next to the airplane, what's the farthest-traveling manmade flying machine?

And by farthest-traveling, I mean cross-continental, as in migrating like a bird.

A VLCC or ULCC? Unless they’re loading or unloading, they’re supposed to be moving constantly at their 14-18 knots between where the oil is and where the refineries are. Over their 10 year average lifespan, that’s a lot of nautical miles.

He said flying. Which does raise the question, what flying machines are left after you eliminate airplanes? That pretty much reduces the question to “which flies further, helicopters or balloons?”.

I didn’t know oil tankers could fly…

For the OP, I think it depends on how you define airplane, and if you’re restricting it to modern vehicles. Zeppelins could do cross-Atlantic flights. I don’t know if modern blimps have the same range.

Ballistic missile. (Farther than an airplane, actually.)

An oil tanker can fly?:dubious:

To answer the OP, I would guess that there are many helicopters that have done as many air miles as most airplanes.

There are also dirigibles and rockets.

Space shuttle?
Apollo 13 I believe has the record for furthest manned flight.

I was going to say Voyager 1, but that’s not so much cross-continental.

It also can’t fly. It was launched by a flying object, but if you actually placed it into the atmosphere of a planet it would fly in exactly the same way that bricks don’t.

Unless you are including spacecraft, and you are looking for non-stop, manned flight, the answer is the balloon with a circumnavigation of the earth. For powered craft, a helicopter has gone 3,561.55 km non-stop, and the Graf Zeppelin had traveled 6988 miles.

I would disagree. Voyager 1 can fly, in space, and we have or had some control over its movements. I don’t think it satisfies the OP’s intent though.

I should have provided a little bit of clarity. I was thinking about planes as man’s attempt to “fly like a bird” and I wondered if there was another type of flying craft that can make it as far as, say, a cross-continental migrating bird.

(TriPolar, I think you figured me out.)

As a bit of a side-track (pending definition of “flying machine”) is Voyager 1 indeed the furthest traveled man made object or has Vanguard 1 (or some other long-lived satellite) done more miles? Voyager is pretty far out, but Vanguard has been zipping around doing almost 11 orbits a day since 1958.

I just learned one of those unbelievable but true facts doing some research for this thread.

Do you know how long the longest plane flight was in time, distance, the dates, and the type of plane used? Take some guesses before you look. It is a strange one.

Two men, Robert Timm and John Cook, stayed aloft for over 64 days in 1958 - 1959 in a Cessna 172:eek: through low altitude refueling from moving trucks. Of course that brings up the question of ‘farthest’ You can’t get much more than 12,000 miles from any place on earth and still be in the atmosphere. They traveled a lot farther than that but the exact distance is unknown and subject to interpretation. Lot’s of flying machines can travel that distance however so the definition of farthest may need to include some additional criteria for the question to mean much.

I was wondering about that. Apparently Voyager is moving at about 37,800mph right now, but that may not have been it’s velocity the whole time. Let’s pretend that’s the average speed though. It was launched on 9/5/77, so that was 12,241 days ago, or 293,784 hours, so it’s traveled 11,105,035,200 (11.1 billion) miles. Vanguard is traveling at, rats, I can only find the orbital parameters. That’s going to take real math to work out. I’ll take a guess that it’s moving no faster than 25,000mph and see how that looks. So Vanguard was launched on 3/17/58, that’s 19,353 days ago, or 464,472 hours ago, so it might have traveled 11,611,800,000 (11.6 billion) miles. These numbers are close enough that the specific speeds may count for the record as it stands today. But Voyager must be going faster, and will soon win the distance record anyway. Vanguard’s got everything else beat in the time category for the next 240+ years.

With enough thrust? Yes. :cool:

A powered aircraft has also circumnavigated the planet: Rutan’s Voyager. If we’re excluding airplanes, does that exclude the Shuttle? It flies.

How about hovercraft and ground effects vehicles?

I’d nominate the Caspian Sea Monster as a candidate. And one of the big military hovercraft, probably. There are commercial hovercraft that have ranges over 500 miles.

As God is my witness, I thought oil tankers could fly!

Come on, someone was gonna say it sooner or later.

Actually, the correct anwer is a Cruise Missile.

I’m disappointed in the Dope.