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GlobalFlyer Survived Bird Strike On Takeoff


Steve Fossett Taking Off
Steve Fossett used more than 13,000 of the 15,000-ft Space Shuttle runway on his takeoff roll before lifting off Tuesday morning at Kennedy Space Center.

February 8, 2006 — Steve Fossett, who at this writing was about halfway across the Atlantic Ocean in the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer, informed mission control that the aircraft struck two birds on takeoff from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida Tuesday morning, but no damage resulted and everything seems to be proceeding according to plan.

"Takeoff was a bit scary to say the least," Fossett said via phone to mission control. "I had to use most of the runway to get off the ground. This was particularly hairy as I couldn't have aborted even if I had wanted to. To make matters worse, two birds hit the aircraft on take off, luckily there doesn't seem to be any sign of damage.

"The climb was very physical, for a time the internal temperatures hit approximately 130F. It was so hot that the instruments stopped working; it was very uncomfortable for a time. Fortunately, the internal temperatures stabilized to normal level and now I am just settling in to enjoy the view."

Fossett is attempting to fly around the globe and then some, crossing the Atlantic twice, to an ultimate landing in Kent, England. The "Ultimate Flight" would cover more than 26,000 miles and break the all-time distance record.

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