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Fossett, Enevoldson Bringing Record-setting Glider to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2007

 

EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. - (June 17, 2007) — The Perlan Glider, which less than a year ago lifted Steve Fossett and Einar Enevoldson into the world record books, will be on display this year during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2007. Both pilots and the record-setting aircraft will be present throughout the week at the 55th edition of the EAA fly-in convention, held July 23-29 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.

In addition to the aircraft display, Fossett (EAA member #562868) and Enevoldson will describe the demanding record-breaking flight during an EAA AirVenture evening program on Friday, July 27, at Theater on the Woods. The glider will be on display at AeroShell Square, the showcase aircraft ramp at the center of the EAA AirVenture grounds.

"Steve Fossett represents the spirit of aviation that is a hallmark of EAA members," said Tom Poberezny, EAA president and AirVenture chairman. "He has previously excited AirVenture attendees by bringing record-setting aircraft such as the GlobalFlyer and the Spirit of Freedom balloon gondola to Oshkosh. We eagerly look forward to hearing of his team's latest record-setting adventure."

The ultra wide-winged (72-foot wingspan) aircraft, an extensively modified German-built DG-505 high-performance sport glider, made the world's first stratospheric glider flight on August 29, 2006, over El Calafate, Argentina, an altitude of 50,699 feet. The previous altitude record was 49,009 feet, set in 1986 by Robert Harris in California City, Calif.

"We took the German glider and converted it to fly for altitude," Fossett said. "The primary conversion was to accommodate us flying in full pressure suits, the same pressure suits used by SR-71 and U-2 pilots. We also had to change the instrumentation so it would work at high altitudes in the thin air and very cold temperatures (minus-55 degrees centigrade)."

The Perlan project, which spanned five years, proved the theory that unpowered flight to a tremendous altitude could be achieved by literally "surfing" from one mountain wave - high altitude updrafts - to another.

Fossett is well known for his past world record accomplishments. In 2005, he made the first solo, non-stop around the world flight in the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer, then used that same airplane to claim two absolute distance records in 2006. In 2004, Fossett broke the existing around the world sailing record by six days, and in 2002, he became the first person to fly around the world solo in a hot-air balloon (Spirit of Freedom).

The weekend before EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, Fossett will be inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame's class of 2007 in Dayton, Ohio.

An EAA AvCast podcast with Steve Fossett is currently available through the www.airventure.org website. Simply go the "podcast" logo on the home page to connect to that and other EAA AvCasts.

EAA AIRVENTURE OSHKOSH is The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration and EAA's yearly membership convention. EAA members receive lowest prices on admission rates. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 1-800-JOIN-EAA (1-800-564-6322) or visit www.eaa.org. EAA AirVenture information is also available through the World Wide Web at www.airventure.org.

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