Damn! This guy is like the Energizer Bunny.
Adventurer Fossett Eyes New Flying Record
By Irene Klotz, Discovery News
Jan. 13, 2006— Millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett plans to leave as early as next week for what he calls the ultimate flight — an expedition around the world and across the Atlantic Ocean again to set a new long-distance, nonstop record.
Fossett arrived at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday to a welcome usually reserved for astronauts.
It was not just Fossett that drew NASA's and the media's eye, it was his aircraft named Global Flyer: a delicate dragonfly of a plane, so lightweight it needs a drag chute to slow for landing.
Fossett, who holds numerous aviation, ballooning and sports records, last year completed the first solo, nonstop circumnavigation of the globe in the plane, a 67-hour voyage that started and ended in Salina, Kan.
But the win felt incomplete, Fossett said after touching down at the Kennedy Space Center's shuttle runway Thursday afternoon.
"Last year, I had a wonderful flight — it was very satisfying, but it left one thing remaining to do. During that flight, this plane ... did not fly to its capability," he said.
A leak shortly after takeoff from Kansas stripped the plane of more than 3,000 pounds of fuel, casting doubt for much of the flight if Fossett would have to end it short of his mark.
It turned out that Global Flyer had fuel to spare by the time it landed after the around-the-world flight, leaving Fossett and his team wondering how much farther it could go.
His first chance to find out will come soon. Fossett needs to take off before the end of February while temperatures are still cool in Florida.
The colder temperature makes for denser air and an easier lift for Global Flyer, whose 11-ton weight at takeoff is 87 percent fuel.
Conditions also must be acceptable in the high-altitude jet stream where Global Flyer will be positioned for its 26,000-plus mile journey. The trip is expected to take about 80 hours.
Fossett, 61, plans to fly east from Florida over the Atlantic, around the globe and back over the Atlantic a second time before landing at Kent International Airport outside London.
Fossett and his team selected the Kennedy Space Center runway because of its generous size of 15,000 feet. Global Flyer needs the long span to take off.
NASA has been looking for commercial ventures to make use of the shuttle runway and other facilities, particularly as the agency prepares to retire the fleet over the next four to five years.
"Of course it would be a thrill to go into space, but I'm an airplane pilot," Fossett said. "And so I'm going to try to do the most exciting things I can do — in airplanes."
Until it is ready to fly, Fosset's plane, which is owned by Virgin Atlantic Airways, will be stored in a Kennedy Space Center hangar originally built to house the agency's now-canceled follow-on reusable spaceship.
The hangar more recently was used to reassemble the wreckage from the 2003 Columbia disaster.
Maybe that's because Burt designed it