67 Hours, One Minute

FossettBy now you’ve heard that Steve Fossett made it back to Salina, KS in one piece after flying solo, non-stop, around the Earth without refueling.  Kudos to Fossett for having the talent, stamina, money, and balls to pull it off.  As much, or more, credit goes to Burt Rutan for designing the GlobalFlyer.  He’s the guy who designed and flew Voyager, a piston-engine plane, on a similar flight with his partner, Jeana Yeager, in 1986.  He also designed SpaceShipOne, the first privately manned spacecraft to exceed an altitude of 328,000 feet twice within the span of a 14 day period, thus claiming the ten million dollar Ansari X-Prize.  Rutan’s design of GlobalFlyer was so efficient that Fossett had to deploy a drouge chute several miles away from the Salina airport in order to convince the plane to land, instead of flying on to Missouri.

This flight was important for at least two reasons.  First, Rutan’s designs will make tomorrow’s aircraft more fuel efficient and less polluting.  Second, Rutan proved that great things can be accomplished using private money, and not government grants or subsidies.  God bless the free market!

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6 thoughts on “67 Hours, One Minute

  1. LittleMike

    St. Louis is cheering. Fossett has always been a friend to St. Louis. He started one of his around the world baloon attempts right here in Downtown St. Louis’s Busch Stadium. Salina, KS was chosen for it’s extremely long runway, otherwise, he might have done it from here.

    Reply
  2. Allan

    I remember that first flight. They communicated with their command center via shortwave. The frequencies were published, and I listened throughout the flight.
    I don’t know if they did it that way this time or not. I’ve lost touch with my sources for such information.

    Reply
  3. SuperSeuss!

    He Pulled It Off

    Congrats to Steve Fosset in the Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer, as well as major supporter Sir Richard Branson. Despite a massive loss of fuel at first and some worries in the last 24 hours about the viability of the attempt,…

    Reply

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