Global Flyer To Launch Today

By on February 28, 2005

That is, Global Flyer To Launch Today IF it can get off the ground.

The Global Flyer, another Scaled Composite-built brainchild of Burt Rutan, is a jet-propelled kissin’ cousin to the prop-driven Voyager. Voyager was the first aircraft to ever circumnavigate the globe non-stop, and Global Flyer hopes to do the same, except with a one-man crew. Millionaire wild-man Steve Fossett will be piloting GF, and is confident as ever, but has expressed some concern over the fact that the plane has never taken off with a full load of fuel.

It is one of the major aviation challenges remaining to be done. It is unprecedented. It will be one of the most difficult flights ever because of the duration (around 70 hours) and because it entails flying a new experimental airplane that has never been flown at its full weight. So this will be the ultimate test flight.

Aside from getting the thing off the ground, there’s also the challenge of getting the thing to its 45,000 foot cruising altitude without it getting torn apart by turbulence, and keeping things balanced throughout the estimated 80 hour flight.

I think I’d be a little concerned as well. But I’d sure love to be him.



  1. I just heard a blurb on the news that the Global Flyer has made it as far as Japan (started in Salinas, KS, going East) but is down to 4,500lbs of fuel. Fossett will need one heck of a tail wind to make it to California, let alone Kansas. It sounded like he’ll aim for Hawaii and wait for another opportunity.

  2. yes i live in salina kansas and my brother just told me that they landed, because of fuel and stuff. Then he will make it to hawaii and then fly back to salina. i dont know if he’ll make it tomorrow, like he was supose to

  3. Last word (at 00:47 UTC) is that he’s still in the air, and will decide as he gets closer to Hawaii whether to shoot for the California coast or call it quits. Apparently Fossett has been moving fuel between the tanks to get a better idea of exactly how much fuel is left. Gotta be a little nerve-wracking.

    Sir Richard Branson said of the situation: “I think it’s too soon to be confident that he’ll make it all the way around the world… I think by the time he reaches Hawaii we’ll have a pretty good idea of whether he’ll make it.”

  4. He’s goin’ for broke. Latest word is that he’s mid-way between Hawaii and the CA coast, and planning for lunch in Salina. Too cool!

    He’s flying in the jetstream over the Pacific, and the tailwind he’s riding is “in excess of 130 knots.” Mission Control’s report at 10pm still had a lot of if’s, but sounded pretty optimistic.

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