Sunday, February 12, 2006

Fossett's Ultimate Flight Sets The Record!

Steve Fossett landed his GlobalFlyer in Bournemouth, England, setting the world record for the longest continuous flight by any aircraft.

The flight was fraught with difficulties:
-A 750 pound fuel loss on takeoff put the craft's total range at risk
-A rise in cockpit temperature shortly after takeoff for some time caused dehydration and increased ration usage for the initial part of the journey
-Severe turbulence over India put the plane at risk
-A general weakness of the jet stream caused wide-ranging fuel range concerns throughout the flight

In addition to the above issues, the final part of the journey turned out to be nearly catastrophic...
When nearing the end of the flight and working on his final descent toward the intended Kent International landing spot, the GlobalFlyer experienced a critical generator problem that caused Fossett to call a mayday as the craft lost power. The team decided to divert to Bournemouth due to its downwind location. Since the GlobaFlyer was having power issues, the cockpit de-icing system was not working properly. Fossett was forced to make a one-shot landing while virtually flying blind, bursting two tires on touchdown to make an already treacherous landing even more dangerous.

But all was well in the end, as Fossett landed and claimed the record safely.

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