Steve Fossett attempts a record flight around the world

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Thursday, March 3, 2005

Steve Fossett, piloting the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer, has set the record of being the first person to fly around the world unrefueled, solo. He is also got the record for longest unrefueled flight of a jet aircraft.

Steve departed from Salina Kansas 18:47 CST on Monday and has successfully crossed the Atlantic Ocean, Northern Africa, the Middle East, and Southern and Central Asia. He then crossed the Pacific moving from Japan to Hawaii, then went on to Southern California. From there her crossed the Southwest United States, and landed back in Salina Kansas at 13:50 CST on Thursday.

One major problem has been encountered during this trip. Somewhere in the first several hours of the flight 2600 pounds of fuel was lost. The engineers have two theories on what caused this loss. One is an extreme case of the fuel evaporation. It was expected to evaporate, but not at anything approaching this rate. The other possibility is that there was a leak or other type of error in the plumbing. Because the aircraft had never been flown fully fueled before, there was no previous data on what could be causing this.

Steve Fossett is already in the record books for being the first to pilot a balloon around the world. He has also been unsuccessfully attempting to achieve a record altitude for a glider for the last four years.

The aircraft was built for Sir Richard Branson and his Virgin Atlantic Airways. It was constructed by Burt Rutan. Burt also designed the Voyager airplane which was piloted by his brother Dick Rutan and Jenna Yeager on the first unrefueled flight around the world. Burt is also the designer of Space Ship One, the first private craft to enter space.

See also