In 2002 Steve Fossett became the first person to fly solo round-the-world, nonstop
in a balloon. Steve is a millionaire businessman-turned-adventurer who is known for his
record-breaking balloon flights. In 1995 he made the first solo crossing of the Pacific
Ocean. He then tried and failed to become the first to circle the globe nonstop in a
multi-person balloon. His attempts included a 1998 flight with British businessman,
Richard Branson that ended with the balloon ditching in the Pacific near Hawaii. The
first round-the-world circumnavigation was accomplished in March 1999 by Swiss pilot,
Bertrand Piccard and Englishman, Brian Jones.
Steve also failed in five solo circumnavigation attempts, including one in August,
2001 which began in Australia and ended when bad weather forced him to land in Brazil.
The next year he triumphed, launching his balloon from Northam Western Australia on
June 19, 2002 and returning to Australia on July 4, 2002.
On February 28, 2005 Steve departed the Municipal Airport in Salina KS in the Virgin
Atlantic Global Flyer (manufactured by Scaled Composites for Virgin Atlantic) in an attempt
to fly a jet powered aircraft around the world non-stop without refueling. 67H 1M 46S and
22,877 miles later on March 3, 2005 Steve landed the Global Flyer back at the Salina Municipal
Airport after completing his circumnavigation round-the-world and carving his name once
again in history.
One Man, One Plane, One World! Steve Fossett, Global Flyer, Round-the-World!
On February 8, 2006 Steve Fossett took off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center Shuttle
Landing Facility in Florida in his Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer single-engine jet. His
takeoff used 11,500 feet of the 15,000 foot runway as his aircraft weighed over 22,000 lbs
on takeoff. He headed east across the Atlantic Ocean reaching an altitude of over 40,000
feet and speed of 379 mph. His solo non-stop Round-the-World route was across North Africa,
Saudi Arabia, India, China, Japan, across the Pacific Ocean to Mexico and over his take-off
point at Kennedy Space Center FL. After he completed his global circumnavigation, Fossett
continued his flight up the US east coast, past Newfoundland and across the Atlantic Ocean
a second time.
On February 11, 2006 Fossett began his descent from 40,000 feet intending to land
at Kent International Airport, Kent England (aka Manston Royal Air Force Airfield). Thirty
minutes before his ETA, the Global Flyer suffered a generator failure. With only battery
power Fossett declared a may-day and was directed to Bournemouth Airport, Dorset England
where he made a safe landing despite suffering two blown tires. He was met by his close
friend, Sir Richard Branson (founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways) and shuttled over to Kent
International Airport where he received a great welcome followed by a press conference.
Steve Fossett set the absolute world record for "distance without landing" by flying
from the Kennedy Space Center FL, round-the-world eastbound, then upon crossing over his
starting point in Florida, he continued across the Atlantic a second time to land in
Bournemouth England. The official flight distance was 25,766 miles over 76H 43M.
It was the longest solo non-stop flight without re-fueling by any aircraft in history.
After note: Steve Fossett was born on April 22, 1944. His life was one of success and
accomplishment. His firsts and records stand as a testimonial to his life. While relaxing
on a casual solo flight in a Bellanca Citabria Super Decathlon aircraft (N240R), Fossett
went missing on September 3, 2007. A search ensued and ended unsuccessfully on October 2,
2007. He was declared legally dead on February 15, 2008. A second search was initiated on
July 14, 2008. Fossett's crash site was located on September 29, 2008 and on November 3,
2008 Steve Fossett's DNA confirmed his death. This was an untimely end to one of the
greatest persons who lived on our earth. His autobiography, "Chasing the Wind" partners
the memories of his accomplished life with all who survive him.