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Steve Fossett: In the Air Again

March 1, 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 taken off in an attempt to 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, has just the one engine and holds enough fuel for the journey, provided that Fossett doesn't run into bad weather that would force him to land. It is expected to take him 66 hours to complete his journey, which is 23,000 miles in length. Fossett aims to maintain an average speed of 287.5 mph and rely on the jet stream to help him along.

He also intends to break a few other aviation records while he's in the air, among them the longest flight by a jet aircraft. If he succeeds, he will nearly double the existing record.

Fossett would be by no means 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 would not be 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 will be that Fossett is flying all by himself.

And what will he be eating on his nearly-three-day trip? Diet milkshakes. Just before he climbed into the plane, Fossett informed those around him that he had bought a selection of them at a local store and planned to consume them on the trip.

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