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Fossett (Wants To) Fly Farthest…

January 25, 2006

Serial record-breaker Steve Fossett just won’t take a break. After becoming the first person to fly solo and non-stop around the globe last year, he is getting ready to fuel up for another solo, non-stop of the planet, with a twist. Instead of landing where he started–because what would be the point of that, he’s already done that–Fossett will tack on a transatlantic leg to his flight. Why? If he succeeds he will hold the record for the longest flight–whether by plane or balloon–in the history of this planet (I mean, you just never know what has gone on on other planets…). Here are the marks Fossett is gunning for: The current record for the longest flight by an airplane is held by the Voyager aircraft (pilots Dick Rutan & Jeanna Yeager), flying 24,987 miles (40,212 km) in 1986. The longest flight by any kind of aircraft is held by the Breitling Orbiter balloon at 25,361 miles (40,814 km) in 1999 (pilots Bertrand Piccard & Brian Jones). How far does Fossett plan to fly? 26,084 miles, which should take him about 80 hours. This is no piece of cake, and an unbelievable number of things can go wrong. You can follow along at Fossett’s website, and the Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer website. The plane is at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, while the team waits for the right weather window. I’m nervous already…

Global Snoozer: “Dum-de-dum-de-dum. Just another 20,000 miles to go…”

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