Fri, Dec 03, 2004
Long Runway, Central Location Makes Kansas Ideal For
The airfield is almost tailor-made -- a two-mile long strip in
the middle of the US. A high-tech college nearby and a population
anxious to help.
Welcome, Global Flyer, to Salina, KS.
The Wichita Eagle reports Richard Branson, his pilot and fellow
adventurer Steve Fossett and Scaled Composite's Burt Rutan will all
be in Salina next month as Fossett attempts to fly solo, non-stop
around the world.
Salina is simply thrilled.
"How often do you have a chance of having Salina's name
mentioned around the world?" said Gerald Cook, in an interview with
the Eagle's aviation reporter, Molly McMillin. Cook is president
and CEO of the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce.
Kansas is a safer bet than most, said Fossett in a statement
quoted by the Eagle. That two-mile long runway will give him plenty
of room to get the Global Flyer, its 13 fuel tanks brimming, off
the ground. The weather will be just about right -- cold calm and
generally clear. Fossett will need all the air density he can get.
And finally, Kansas is nowhere near the ocean.
"If I had chosen a West Coast airport, I would risk ditching in
the Pacific if I run out of fuel near the end," Fossett said in a
statement quoted by the Eagle.
Its route determined by the blowing of the jet streams, Global
Flyer will cruise at approximately 250 kts as it circles the globe.
Its mission will be coordinated at Kansas State University's
College of Technology and Aviation which, like Salina, will be the
center of the aviation universe as Fossett goes 'round the world in
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