Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Leaving Japan

He is leaving Japan, and now flying over the Pacific Ocean.

Altitude: 47,000 feet
Ground Speed: 359 knots

Approaching to Hamamatsu

GlobalFlyer is approaching Hamamatsu.

Altitude: 46,593 feet
Ground Speed: 367 knots

Answer: GPS

Yes, the GlobalFlyer has an auto pilot. It has 2, two axis, TruTrak autopilots.

This post has been corrected from previous information.

Approaching to Toyota

GlobalFlyer is approaching to Toyota City.

Altitude: 46,839 feet
Ground Speed: 366 knots

Approaching to Kansai International Airport

GlobalFlyer is approaching to Kansai International Airport (RJBB).

Altitude: 46,600 feet
Ground Speed: 359 knots

Answer: The price tag of the GlobalFlyer

There has been several questions as to how much the aircraft costs. The exact cost has never been released.

Answer: Any more flights?

There are currently 7 "holy grail" aviation records. As of today, 3 are held by the SR-71, 1 by a MIG-25, 1 by the Voyager Aircraft, and 2 by the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer. If all goes well, the GlobalFlyer will beat the Voyager Aircraft for the closed circuit distance record. More information about these records can be found here.

Answer: Where's he going?

Steve will make land fall over Baja, Mexico. He will enter the United States in the vicinity of El Paso, Texas. This is also where he will begin his decent.

Answer: How's Steve?

Steve is doing well. Mission control is doing his position reports, relieving some of his workload. Google earth currently puts his position 11,748 nautical miles past his start point. The flight plan for the flight is an estimated 22,022 nautical miles. Steve is past the halfway point!

Japan on the Horizon

Steve is now half-way across the East China Sea on his way to Japan.
He will be passing over Nagasaki, Japan.

Latitude: N31.434
Longitude: E123.166
Altitude: 45,698 ft
Speed: 340 knots
Heading 77.30 degrees
Elapsed Time: 38:38

Shanghai Noon

Steve is now approaching Shanghai, China and will soon be over the East China Sea.

Latitude: N31.153
Longitude: E121.602
Altitude: 45,654 ft
Speed: 327 knots
Heading 73.40 degrees
Elapsed Time: 38:23

China Progress

Steve is progressing across China.

Latitude: N31.790
Longitude: E117.381
Altitude: 46305 ft
Speed: 351 knots
Heading 89.90 degrees
Elapsed Time: 37:45

Answer: Direction and ETA of landing

GlobalFlyer will land into the wind. We do not know at this time what direction that will be. The ETA is between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Answer: Design of Airplane

Max range for a jet is generally at best ((Cl^1/2) / Cd). The best indicated airspeed at 20,000 lbs is 130 KIAS and at 6000 lbs is 80 KIAS. These are speeds for best range which are not the same as for best endurance which is what the question asks about but is not relevant. Average tailwinds this flight are about 70 knots.

Still Moving On!

Steve is making very good time across China.
He is almost halfway across the country now.

Latitude: N26.361
Longitude: E104.852
Altitude: 46,810 ft
Speed: 314 knots
Heading 56.60 degrees
Elapsed Time: 35:28


Check out Google Earth. Make sure to download Steve's path.

Position Update

Steve is well into China.

Latitude: N24.084
Longitude: E100.646
Altitude: 46,826 ft
Speed: 307 knots
Heading 63.60 degrees
Elapsed Time: 34:35

Answer: Weather forecast for Steve

Steve is at an altitude where weather is not a factor. Steve and mission control are most concerned about winds and turbulence. The next five hours should bring Steve favorable winds ranging from 60 to 100 knots from the west.

Answer: K-State Rewards

Unlike the 2005 mission, this mission provided EVERY K-State at Salina student the opportunity to be involved. Since the Salina GlobalFlyer website launched, there have been just over 12,000 hits. Students in mission control have been given numerous networking, and job experience opportunities. The college has been mentioned on news programs such as Paul Harvey's "Good Day", and in publications such as the L.A. Times.

Answer: Steve on a diet?

There have been questions about aircraft weight and these are the numbers be have available to us. The total gross weight is approximately 22, 475 lbs. Total fuel being 18, 300 lbs. The aircraft weighs 3,900 lbs. This leaves 275 lbs for Steve and his baggage.

Answer: Watching the landing?

Steve is expected to arrive in Salina mid-day on Friday. The field will not be open to the public. You can watch the landing from anywhere around the airport as long as you obey traffic laws.

Answer: About the GlobalFlyer

Between the flights, the crew performs routine maintenance on the aircraft. Every system is inspected and worked over. After the first flight, a secondary fuel vent system was installed to prevent unwanted fuel loss. Because of the large team involved with aircraft maintenance, one month is plenty of time for a turn-around.

Answer: K-State vs. K-State at Salina

Kansas State University has multiple campuses. Main campus is in Manhattan, Kansas. While the main campus, Manhattan, offers most degree programs, the Salina campus offers degrees in Technology and Aviation. The Manhattan campus has an approximate population of 22,000, and Salina has an approximate population of 900.

Steve is now over Myanmar

Steve has entered Myanmar

Steve is leaving Bangladesh

Steve is leaving Bangladesh and heading toward the Myanmar border.


  • Lat: N22.32257
  • Long: E91.28707
  • Altitude: 47414 feet
  • Groundspeed: 299 knots
  • Heading: 95.90°
  • Elapsed Time32:50

Steve is over Bangladesh

Steve is now over Bangladesh flying at a groundspeed of 303 knots, and an altitude of 47,434 feet.
Lat: N22.48075 Long: E89.93482 Heading: 97.50° Elapsed Time32:34

Steve nears Indian border.

Steve is nearing the Indian Border at the speed of 330 knots and at an altitude of 47,061 feet.

Lat: N22.81500
Long: E86.17106
Heading: 76.80°
Elapsed Time

Answer: Wing flex on take-off

The answer has to do with what is called "Wing Loading". When Steve is rolling down the runway accelerating to Takeoff speed, there is not much lift being produced by the large wings. When he "Rotates" Steve pulls the aircraft into a nose up attitude. This increase in pitch attitude causes the amount of lift generated by each wing to increase substantially.

When GlobalFlyer took off it did so with a substantial amount of fuel onboard, both in the wing tanks and in the boom tanks. When Steve lifted off the wings flexed upward because the wing fuel was supported by the lift generated by the wings. The boom tanks do not create any lift to sustain flight and resisted that motion upward, due to gravity acting on the weight of the fuel in the tanks. This results in the situation you see on the takeoff video where it appears the wings wanted to lift off prior to the GlobalFlyer.

Consider this simple model: Holding a yard stick at both ends, suspend a bowling ball from the center using a rope. The act of you holding each end is the "Lift" during rotation. The act of the bowling ball is the immense weight contained in the boom tanks being pulled by gravity, resisting the takeoff.

One factor that led to the large "Flex" in the wings relates to the composite material that Scaled Composites constructed the GlobalFlyer with. It allows a larger amount of flexibility than Aluminum construction would.

Another factor is the extreme length of the wings. The longer a wing is, the more susceptible it is to wing flex from wing loading, as well as turbulence.

Great Question!

A video of takeoff can be found here.

Steve's Position

Steve is halfway across India cruising at 304 knots at an altitude of 47,302 feet.

Lat: N21.25142
Long: E79.66280
Heading: 73.90°
Elapsed Time30:42

Meet the Mission Control team.

The Mission Control Team:
from left to right
Jill Hudson, Dan Kozak, Patrick Dean Rinearson, and Nancy Milleret.

Both Nancy and Pat assisted with Steve’s two previous flights in March 2005 and February 2006 and will be leading the Mission Control team’s efforts to give Steve around-the-clock support during the next record attempt. Working with Nancy and Pat in Mission Control will be Dan Kozak, sophomore in professional pilot, from Lansing, Kan.; and Jill Hudson, senior in professional pilot from Culver, Ind.

Weight to Fuel Ratio

For every extra pound Steve takes with him on the GlobalFlyer he has to add five pounds of fuel for the trip around the world.

Steve's position

Steve is over India cruising at a speed of 308 knots and at an altitude of 47,401 feet.

Lat: N22.50287
Long: E74.57198
Altitude: 47401 feet
Speed: 308 knots
Heading: 107.50°
Elapsed Time29:43

Facts about India

India's national bird is the Indian peacock.
The national flower is the lotus, the national animal is the tiger.

Answer: How often can Steve doze off and how long are his naps?

We have received some questions regarding how often Steve can take a nap and how long can he nap?

When he can nap depends on when he has time to nap. When he has to communicate with mission control and air traffic control he stays alert. He would have more time for naps over the ocean than he will when he is over land.
Usually, Steve's naps will last three to five minutes. On one of his previous flights Steve only got two hours of sleep.

Steve is entering India

Steve is now entering Indian airspace.

Lat: N24.19299
Long: E68.12206
Altitude: 47397 ft
Speed: 321 kt
Heading: 97.20°
Elapsed Time

Steve is passing over Pakistan

Steve is passing over Pakistan. He will be heading to India next.

Lat: N24.26248
Long: E67.49450
Altitude: 47,472 feet
Speed: 325 knots
Heading: 96.10°
Elapsed Time

Answer: Why can't Steve sleep for longer than time periods?

We have had the questions arise about Steve using the autopilot more so he can sleep for longer time periods.

Because the airplane's autopilot is not perfect Steve has to make constant small adjustments.

Mission Control contacts Steve.

Mission Control contacted Steve about entering Indian airspace. Steve also said hello to Mrs. Fossett.

Halfway across the Indian Ocean

Steve is about halfway across the Indian Ocean headed toward Pakistan.

Lat: N24.33274
Long: E63.22379
Altitude: 46,945 feet
Speed: 322 knots
Heading: 82.70°
Elapsed Time

Student simulates flight

Brad Amstutz, senior flight instructor for K-State at Salina, is
mirroring Fossett's three day, three night flight as the simulation
pilot at K-State at Salina. He also was the simulation pilot last year
and is looking forward to this year's simulation and the study.

This year, additional information will be obtained from the flight as
Kimberly Raddatz, a K-State graduate student in psychology, performs a series of tests on the GlobalFlyer simulation pilot. The tests are
designed to study the effects of sleep deprivation with regards to

Raddatz will periodically test Amstutz's cognitive and perceptual
functioning with a variety of tests. He will be asked to perform
certain tasks and will be scored on how well he performs, she said.
Other tests will include word and creativity problems and
questionnaires. A risk assessment test also will be evaluated through
various scenarios, such as, weather and rough terrain risks.

Steve's Position

Steve is headed toward the Indian Ocean, and the next border he will be crossing is Pakistan.

Lat: N23.51452
Long: E57.83337
Altitude: 47,111 feet
Speed: 314 knots
Heading: 78.80°
Elapsed Time

Answer: Information about the webcam

We had an inquiry about the type of camera we are using for the live web-cast. The camera in Mission Control is a Canon XL1, recording at 30 frames per second. This feed is then compressed for use over the web.

Steve is over Oman

Steve has crossed the Oman border

Oman is located in the Middle East, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and Persian Gulf, between Yemen and UAE

Oman is slightly smaller than Kansas.

Lat: N23.81616
Long: E56.16227
Altitude: 47,068 feet
Speed: 326 knots
Heading: 117.00°
Elapsed Time

Mission Control calls Steve

Mrs. Fossett came into mission control and called to say hello to Steve and check on his progress. It is now night for Steve.

Steve's Position

Steve is now over United Arab Emirates.

How do they track the plane?

Blue Sky Network tracks GlobalFlyer by using a GPS system.

For this flight, we are unsure whether Steve has a camera for pictures.

Web link Correction

Thank you all for the correction of the site. Our computer web master will update it as soon as he arrives this morning.

Suit for Flight?

Steve, as seen in previous pictures, is once again wearing his silver jumpsuit.

Shift Change at Mission Control

Mission Control has changed shifts. Nancy and Jill are excited about Steve's progress.

Lat: N24.80057
Long: E46.22248
Altitude: 46410 ft
Ground Speed: 330 kt
Heading: 81.90°
Elapsed Time

One down and two to go

Steve has been in flight for one full day. Mission Control reports, everything is going well. Go Steve, Go!

Lat: N24.44840
Long: E44.04549
Altitude: 46697 ft
Groundspeed: 335 kt
Heading: 85.80°
Elapsed Time

K-State at Salina's Hangars

The east hangars are used for Mechanics and the west hangars are mainly storage.

Labs are held in the hangar attached to the Aero building.

Student Achievements at K-State

K-State ranks first nationally among state universities in its total of Rhodes, Marshall, Truman, Goldwater, and Udall scholars since 1986. Our students have won more than $2 million in those five competitions and have earned K-State a place among the nation’s elite universities.

Location of Mission Control

GlobalFlyer's Mission Control is located in the Stevens Board Room of the College Center.

Steve has entered Saudi Arabia

6 a.m. CST, Steve will be flying over Saudi Arabia, which is slightly more than one-fifth the size of the United States.

Lat: N25.53366
Long: E37.78932
Altitude: 46862 ft
Groundspeed: 325 kt
Heading: 119.30°
Elapsed Time

Answer: Countries withdrawing Clearances?

As far as the world flights go, clearances are given in advance and there would have to be a valid reason to change or withdraw the clearance. For example, if national security were an issue, clearance might be cancelled.

In the past flights, countries have been very cooperative with GlobalFlyer. We do not believe an ATC withdrawal will be an issue.

Paper Airplane Flight Simulator

We found some airplane entertainment to keep you company in between our blogs.

Paper Airplane Flight Simulator

Good Morning Mission Control

Pat and Dan are giving the control centers position reports. They are alert and happy with Steve's progress.

Answer: Speed

Please review Tuesday's Archives for this explanation in the question about why GlobalFlyer is flying east.


Example: If you are flying in an airplane at 200 miles per hour, and the wind is pushing you from behind at 100 miles per hour, then your groundspeed would be 300 miles per hour.
The converse is true also. If you are flying in your airplane at 200 miles per hour, and the wind is blowing at you from the front at 100 miles per hour, then your groundspeed would be only 100 miles per hour.

Lat: N25.45874
Long: E30.57687
Altitude: 46332 ft
Groundspeed: 336 kt
Heading: 106.70°
Elapsed Time

Thank You for your question.

Welcome to Salina, Kansas

The City of Salina is located in north central Kansas, near the geographic center of the contiguous United States.

It is the seventh-largest city in Kansas, with a 2000 U.S. Census Bureau estimated population of 45,679. Continued growth has brought the population to over 46,000.

Situated at the intersection of Interstate Highways 70 and 135, the City of Salina is centered in one of the largest wheat producing areas of the world. Kansas City, Missouri and Wichita, Kansas are 180 and 95 miles away, respectively, via the direct access of these two highways. Denver is 425 miles to the west.

Information provided by:
City of Salina, Kansas

Answer: President Bush visited K-State

January 23, 2006
George W. Bush
President of the United States

Landon Lecture Series:

Kansas State University maintains one of the most prestigious lecture series in American colleges and universities: the Alfred M. Landon Lecture Series on Public Issues. Inaugurated in 1966 by former K-State President James A. McCain, the series is a tribute to the late Alfred M. Landon, who for many years was Kansas' most distinguished political leader.

President's Lecture in Text

Pyramids in sight

Steve has now crossed into Egypt.

Photo Courtesy of:
Tour Egypt!

Flight Data:
Lat: N26.75521
Long: E25.91077
Altitude: 46443 ft
Speed: 336 kt
Heading: 105.80°
Elapsed Time

Onboard Alarm system

There are three separate alarm systems onboard GlobalFlyer.

First, is a Navigation alert. It will ring when Steve's Cross-track is outside the limit. [the distance from the intended course]

Second, an alarm sounds if Steve's Altitude deviates more than desired.

Finally, a third alarm is used to keep Steve from getting more than a few minutes of sleep at one time.

Answer: The use of Autopilot

Steve has access to two Autopilots within the GlobalFlyer.

For the majority of the flight he will operate on the Autopilot, reducing workload.

He does some hand-flying at waypoints to check system integrity and double check Autopilot operation.

He also utilizes the Autopilot during his "Power naps", which can last three to five minutes.

Flight Data:
Lat: N27.64832
Long: E22.45854
Altitude: 46379 ft
Speed: 352 kt
Heading: 87.80°
Elapsed Time

Student Body Demographics

K-State represents more than 23,000 students from all 50 states and 90 countries.

Turbulence Possible

Latest weather reports indicate the possibility for light to temporarily moderate turbulence in Eastern Libya and into Egypt.

We will keep you up to date with any changes.

Simulated Global Record

A flight instructor from K-State at Salina is mirroring the flight through simulation.

Brad Amstutz took off with Steve, via a Flight Simulator, and has been flying the same route. The simulation includes real-time weather and aircraft loading. This is the second time Amstutz has simulated Fossett's record attempts. He also flew the first attempt in 2005, originating from Salina. During the previous attempt, Amstutz actually beat Fossett back to Salina and was on the runway in time to watch the landing.

This time, Amstutz is part of a human psychology study. The study is focusing on the effects of fatigue on pilots conducting long duration flights. This is one of a few studies being conducted in cooperation with the K-State Psychology Department.

Waypoint update

The total route covers 177 different waypoints. Currently he has crossed 39 of them. Only 138 to go!

K-State at Salina Degree Fields

Programs of Study offered at K-State at Salina:

Airframe and Powerplant
Aircraft Pilot
Aviation Maintenance
Construction Engineering Technology
Computer Systems Technology
Electronic & Computer Engineering Technology
Mechanical Engineering Technology
Technology Management
Web Development Technology
Applied Technologies
Applied Business

Student Events on Campus

If there are any opportunities for events on campus relating to the flight, notification will be sent out via campus e-mail.

Thank you for the question.

Answer: Where is Mrs. Fossett?

Mrs. Fossett is patiently awaiting the return of her husband to Salina.

She periodically stops in at Mission Control to monitor Steve's progress, and sincerely supports her husband.

Ask away!!!

We want your questions and comments. We will try to answer each question posed with a blog, as soon as time permits.


Answer: K-State Mission Control Selection

The question was posed, "How were students chosen to participate?"

Students were chosen by faculty recommendations for Mission Control and Ground Support positions. For the Web update team, students volunteered to surrender their time and talents.

Steve enters Libyan airspace

Steve has entered Libyan airspace and is heading toward Egypt. Libya is slightly larger than Alaska.

Flight Data:
Lat: N25.79678
Long: E11.58065
Altitude: 45820 ft
Speed: 344 kt
Heading: 64.30°
Elapsed Time

Answer: Video feed 's Audio

The live Mission Control video feed is provided by Public Access Cable Channel 19 in Salina, Kansas. The audio feed is not controlled by Mission Control or K-State at Salina.

Thanks for the questions!

Answer: Countries Steve's route will cover

Here is a list of the countries Steve will overfly while on this closed circuit distance record:

In order of entry:
United States of America
Western Sahara
Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates

Situation update

GlobalFlyer did experience some turbulence over Mali, Africa.

The fuel conditions appear normal and on track for arrival in Salina on Friday.

The winds aloft remain favorable.

Flight Data:
Lat: N24.15687
Long: E9.08510
Altitude: 45972 ft
Speed: 349 kt
Heading: 69.10°
Elapsed Time

Facts about K-State's Mascot

Wildcat Willie:

K-State’s mascot appeared in 1947 and Willie has undergone several makeovers since then. But one thing about Willie has remained the same: his identity is still kept a secret.

This Willie head was created in 1997 and is still used today. It has gray fur with two white stripes to resemble the Powercat logo. The new head weighs five pounds and features an electronic cooling fan.

Powercat logo
The Powercat logo was introduced in 1989 by former football coach Bill Snyder, who wanted a new logo for his team. Illustrator Tom Bookwalter created the logo.

Current Position

Steve has now entered Algerian airspace. Algeria is slightly less than 3.5 times the size of Texas and home to the Saharan Desert.

Picture courtesy: