Global Flyer presses on despite fuel fears

日期:2019-03-03 07:02:01 作者:仰硇 阅读:

By Kelly Young Despite a fuel shortage, adventurer Steve Fossett decided on Wednesday to continue his quest to fly around the globe, non-stop, in under 80 hours. At 1030 GMT on Thursday he was nearing the west coast of the US in the experimental Global Flyer aircraft. A loss of about 1180 kilograms of fuel – a full load being 8200 kg – caused Mission Control to consider landing the aeroplane in Hawaii after 50 hours in the air. Fossett started his journey in Salina, Kansas, US, on Monday and aims to return there in what would be the first solo non-stop flight around the world. “I hit the jet stream very well and that put us in a better fuel position,” Fossett told Mission Control via satellite phone on Wednesday. “I have every hope of making it to Salina tomorrow.” But Fossett has already crushed one world record on this trip. On Wednesday, he broke the world record for “distance without landing.” A B-52 aircraft set that record in 1962. Mission Control calculated that if Global Flyer chose not land in Hawaii, it would have 2610 miles (4200 kilometres) of ocean to cross before it reached the next possible landing strip on Catalina Island, off the California coast. Officials began questioning whether Global Flyer would finish its mission on Wednesday afternoon after discovering that the plane had much less fuel left than it should have had. “It is too soon for any confidence that Steve will make it the whole way around,” said Richard Branson, head of the aircraft’s sponsor, Virgin Atlantic. Although the team decided to press ahead with the first half of the Pacific Ocean – tailwinds of 100 knots had helped the plane make good time – the decision was not taken lightly: “Both Steve and I have tackled the Pacific before on our ballooning attempts,” said Branson, “and we learnt many times never to underestimate this ocean.” One of the possible explanations for the loss of fuel is a fuel leak in the flight’s first three-and-a-half hours. Mission Control shunted fuel from tanks in the wings to tanks closer to the engine on Wednesday to ensure maximum availability. More on these topics: