The GlobalFlyer Has Landed ... At Kennedy Space Center
Steve Fossett arrived at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on Thursday afternoon. Photo: Florida Today.
January 12, 2006 — Steve Fossett arrived Thursday at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida in the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer on Thursday following an uneventful flight from the aircraft's home base in Salina, Kansas. Sometime in the next several weeks Fossett and the 'Flyer will embark on "The Ultimate Flight," an attempt to set the world record for the longest flight of all time.
"Today brings me a step closer to achieving the longest flight ever which is one of the biggest challenges I have ever undertaken," he said upon arrival. "Today's flight has been much more than just a repositioning flight - it has been an opportunity to test that all of the aircraft's systems are working correctly prior to take off for the actual record attempt."
Further tests and checks will be done in Florida before departure, which will take place between mid-January and the end of February. During that window is the best chance for optimal flight conditions: Temperature of 52 degrees or lower at takeoff; minimal turbulence for the ascent to altitude (about 45,000 feet); and a favorable jet stream.
After take off, Fossett will circumnavigate the globe, then continue on across the North Atlantic and land at Kent International airport. That estimated distance is 26,160 miles, which would eclipse both the existing world flight distance records--Voyager's 24,987 miles and the Breitling Orbiter balloon's 25,361 miles. The flight is expected to last about 80 hours.
Fossett added, "I would like to take this opportunity to thank NASA for their support on this attempt and I look forward to climbing back into the cockpit very soon to take off for my next, and most challenging, adventure yet."