The Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer, piloted by US adventurer Steve Fossett, touched down at Salina, Kansas on 3 March after setting a record for the fastest, non-stop, non-refuelled circumnavigation of the world.

Loaded with about 8,220kg (18,100lb) of fuel, the Scaled Composites-developed GlobalFlyer took off from Salina at 18:47 local time on 1 March and returned 67h 2mins later after covering a distance of around 36,800km (19,900nm). The mission, which beat a former long distance record established in 1962 by a US Air Force Boeing B-52 crew, also marked the first non-stop solo circumnavigation. Apart from taking a few brief naps, diet chocolate drinks helped keep Fossett awake for the entire flight.

The mission was threatened by a temporary failure of the satellite navigation system, and by an unexplained fuel discrepancy. However, strong jet stream tail winds of 130kt (240km/h) plus over the eastern Pacific helped secure success for the Wiliams International FJ44-3 powered aircraft.



Source: Flight International