Global FlyerVirgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer's longest distance aircraft flight world record attempt has been postponed due to a collision with a refuelling truck.

The GlobalFlyer, which has a wing span of 34.7m (114ft), had been being fuelled yesterday (4 January) at Salinas airport in Kansas for a flight test ahead of its Ultimate Flight record attempt to fly 41,900km (22,600nm) around the world in around 80h.  The all-composite aircraft hit the tanker after fuelling, damaging the wing tip.

The Virgin Atlantic team says it is assessing the damage, but estimates that no further flight is likely until at least next month. “This could be a real set back for record attempt. We are currently assessing the damage for how long the repairs will take to see when we can get the record attempt back on track,“ says Steve Fossett, pilot of the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer.
It was to fly to Florida’s John F Kennedy Space Centre on 6 January in preparation for the record attempt.

The aircraft has a ceiling of 51,000ft (15,500m) but will fly mostly at 45,000ft and travel at speeds in excess of 250kt (440km/h).


Source: Flight International