Fossett and Virgin Global Flyer Underway
Steve Fossett departed the Kennedy Space Center aboard the Virgin Global Flyer on February 8, 2006, in an effort to set another world record for flight. The goal of the attempt is to fly farther than any other aircraft and to specifically best the record set by Voyager in 1986.
As we go to press with this story the latest status report at 16:00 (Zulu) put Fossett and the Global Flyer 27 hours 40 minutes into the flight, 10,150 miles downrange, and flying at 300 knots with 8,850 pounds of fuel remaining.
Fuel is an ongoing concern. The Ultimate Flight team has reported a loss of 750 pounds of fuel during the climb out of Florida. This will require some adjustments to the flight plan according to Jon Karkow, Chief Engineer and Launch Director, "We are very concerned about the winds in the final push of the flight, the Pacific is looking strong but the winds over the Atlantic are looking very weak. We calculated before launch that VAGF would reach its final destination at Kent International with between 500 and 1,000lbs of fuel left, due to the 750lb of fuel the Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer lost during ascent from Kennedy Space Center, we have been left with no margin at all to play with."
He added, "The winds over the Atlantic will be crucial and the team at Mission Control are working round the clock analyzing the movements of the jet streams. Steve will continue to search out the best winds; even the smallest increase in speed will bring the Record closer. We have to pass five major way points at 5,000km distance to make the record official but the officiating body doesn