March 03, 2005


As with all great adventures, Steve Fossett has hit a bit of a snag in his quest to fly a jet around the world alone without refueling.
By snag, I mean that he's not sure how much fuel he actually has. In fact, there remains a 2,600-pound discrepancy in fuel readings. Was it because of conflicting gauge readings? Was it a leak in the tank? Was there an extreme amount of evaporation due to the high altitude and wind speed?
This kind of snag tends to turn someone into a smear on the ground.
At around midnight Wednesday, Fossett passed over Hawaii. That was the point at which he had to decide if he was going to go for the U.S. mainland and take a chance of dunking into the Pacific or land in Hawaii and call it a good first try. Fossett decided to push ahead.
If the tracking map is any indication, the gamble appears to be paying off:
Landfall doesn't necessarily mean he's in the clear. This is a guy who's essentially been awake for the better part of three days and stuffed in a flying gas can. He doesn't have the same piloting skills that a fresh pilot has. Making the landing will be difficult - if he makes it that far.
Plus, he's flying an aircraft that is significantly lighter than what it was three days ago. The rudder stick will feel nothing like it did when it took off.
Hold onto your seats, folks. It's gonna be a bumpy ride.


Steve Fossett, me and the Iditarod.

Posted by Jeff at March 3, 2005 08:14 AM