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Steve Fossett: Another Record

March 3, 2005

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Steve Fossett's Global Balloon Flight

Steve Fossett, the millionaire who holds world records in many different transportation pursuits, has become the first person to fly around the world in a single-engine airplane without stopping.

Fossett took off from an airport in Salina, Kansas, on February 28. The plane, the GlobalFlyer, had one engine and enough fuel for the 23,000-mile journey. He landed shortly after 1:30 p.m. today, March 3, back where he started.

A fuel problem almost grounded the flight in Hawaii. Onboard sensors showed what looked to be a leak, but a malfunction was also a possibility. Fossett and his on-ground team decided to press on, however, counting on the jet stream to help bring the plane home.

He also broke a few other aviation records while he's in the air, among them the longest flight by a jet aircraft. The existing record was 12,000 miles, set in 1962 by a B-52 bomber.

Fossett was not the first person to fly around the world by himself. Famed American aviator Wiley Post did that way back in 1933, but he stopped numerous times along the way.

And this was not the first nonstop flight without refueling: Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager did that back in 1986, on Voyager. (Rutan's brother, Burt, built Fossett's plane, GlobalFlyer.)

The distinction here is that Fossett flew all by himself.

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