Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer mission control is now estimating that the aircraft could land at the UK's Kent International Airport as early as 18:00 GMT tomorrow (11 February).

At 15:10 GMT today pilot Steve Fossett had travelled 30,500km (16,527nm) in 50h, used 6,450kg (14,200lb) of his 8,270kg of fuel and was flying at 210kt (388km/h).

The Scaled Composites-built aircraft’s Fossett is aiming to fly 41,800km (25,977 miles) in around 80h, circumnavigating the world and continuing on to Kent International Airport.

Following yesterday’s severe turbulence over India, the flight today, across the Pacific ocean, saw the aircraft achieve a speed of 355kt due to strong jet stream winds.

Fossett needed the higher Pacific speeds after a troubled take off with a 340kg fuel loss and bird strikes.

GlobalFlyer video W445
In exclusive raw footage (pictured above), Flight International technology reporter Rob Coppinger shares his initial impressions as the press pack on the Virgin Atlantic Ultimate Flight press trip walks towards the GlobalFlyer before its launch.

To view the video: click here for the Windows Media Video file of the GlobalFlyer unveiling
or download in Apple QuickTime format to view the GlobalFlyer unveiling video clip on your iPod

Read Rob Coppinger's blog from the project's launch yesterday

External link:
Follow the attempt’s progress on the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer flight tracker web page

Source: Flight International