Closed-Circuit Flight To Take Place By The End Of
The word out of Kansas
is... he's baaaack. Adventure junkie Steve Fossett (right) is
headed back to Salina, where he's set to try for yet another
This time, the 61-year old Fossett will try for the closed
circuit distance record of 24,931 miles. A closed-circuit flight is
one that begins and ends at the same point, and the current record
was set by Dick Rutan aboard Voyager's original nonstop
around-the-world flight back in 1986. That flight took off and
landed at Edward's Air Force Base in California.
During his record-setting solo round-the-world flight
in March 2005, Fossett traveled approximately 23,000
miles on a closed circuit course from Salina, KS -- not quite
enough to break the closed circuit record. Last February, Fossett beat that distance by over 3,000
miles during the Ultimate Flight... but that flight
landed in England, after Fossett overflew his takeoff point at
Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
For his latest record attempt, Fossett will once again take off
from the Salina (KS) Municipal Airport's 12,300-foot runway... but
this time, he'll fly the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer on a slightly
longer round-the-world course to clinch the closed-circuit
Art Greenfield of the National Aeronautic Association tells the
Wichita Eagle the flight could launch as early as next week,
In addition to adding another ribbon to Fossett's trophy case,
the latest record flight will also spotlight the aviation
department at Kansas State University-Salina. While the school also
played a supporting role for Fossett's 2005 around-the-world
flight, this time around there will be no Virgin Atlantic staff on
hand -- meaning it's K-State-Salina's show, for everything from
maintenance to mission control.
Fossett reportedly asked the university last week to provide
support for the latest record attempt.
"Steve Fossett is giving K-State at Salina a fantastic
opportunity by asking us to lead the effort on the ground to make
his next record attempt successful," said Dennis Kuhlman, dean of
the university's Salina campus. "By choosing K-State at Salina to
provide support for his next attempt, he is doing just that --
giving our students a huge part to play in one of the most exciting
high-tech projects in the world today."