And So Does Steve
Steve Fossett has joined with Mark Rebholz to launch the Vickers
Vimy Project again, this time aiming to recreate the 1919
Transatlantic flight from St John's, Newfoundland in Canada to
Clifden, Co, Galway, Ireland achieved by British flyers John W.
Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown.
Fossett and Robholz launched on Thursday from Gnoss Field in
Novato, California, and made it to Lake Havasu, AZ before calling
it a day. They were scheduled to head towards Kansas on Saturday,
enroute to Newfoundland to prepare for their transatlantic flight
between the second and third week of June.
The twin-engine replica bomber is the world's largest flying
biplane, with at 70 foot wingspan, and four-bladed, ten foot
diameter propellers. The wood, metal and fabric plane is over 15
feet tall, and will weigh over 6 tons when fully loaded for the
long distance attempt.
It is powered by 8.4 litre Canadian-built Orenda V8's, developed
from a General Motors truck engine design. The plane cruises at
about 75 miles per hour. The Vimy replica, built in 1991-1994,
has already made multi-stop flights from the UK to Australia and UK
to South Africa in the past.
The re-creation of the 1,960 mile journey across the North
Atlantic will take more than 16 hours. It's no Global Flyer either,
as the Co-Pilot and Navigator Rebholz will use only a sextant and
compass as did Alcock and Brown in 1919.
Fossett and Rebholz have been flying the Vimy relica since last
autumn in northern California. According to Fossett, the plane is a
bear to fly and requires the full attention of both pilots,
particularly on take-off and landing. They plan to arrive in St.
John's in time to standby for the mid-June attempt. June 14th is
the anniversary of Alcock and Brown's historic flight.