Thursday, March 16, 2006

Tailwinds are looking good. They were last reported at 45 knots.
This may allow for an earlier arrival time.

Lat: N10.82730
Long: W135.87214
Altitude: 52400 ft
Speed: 223 kt
Heading: 47.70°
Elapsed Time 62:58

Steve's Position

Steve is over the Pacific Ocean:

Lat: N6.50450
Long: W140.72339
Altitude: 52,762 ft
Speed: 231 kt
Heading: 55.30°
Elapsed Time: 61:17

Answer: Engine information

Question: "I would like information on the jet engine used to power the aircraft. How long between servicing? Between overhaul? How much fuel does it burn an hour? What other aircraft does it power? How long has it been in service?"

Answer: "Here is a response from Williams International, the engine's manufacturer: The first of the FJ44 series of engines was put into service in 1992 and the most recent just last fall. The Model on GlobalFlyer requires minor on-wing service at 250 flight hour intervals, an on-wing turbine inspection every 2000 flight hours, and an overhaul at 4000 flight hours. Fuel burn rates vary considerably depending on flight condition, but typical cruise fuel consumption is 0.67 pounds per hour of fuel flow per pound of thrust. The FJ44 engine powers many aircraft including all three Citation Jets manufactured by Cessna, the Premier aircraft built by Raytheon Aircraft, the SJ30-2 aircraft made by Sino Swearingen, and many others. One thing is sure, while Steve is aloft our favorite application is the Scaled Composites GlobalFlyer."

Steve is still heading Northeast

Steve is still heading Northeast towards the Baja Peninsula in Mexico, ETA over Mexico is early tomorrow morning.


Lat: N4.95560

Long: W142.95742

Altitude: 52234 feet

Groundspeed: 238 knots

Heading: 55.00°

Elapsed Time60:37

Steve's position

Steve is flying over the Pacific Ocean.
  • Lat: N3.26532
  • Long: W145.37343
  • Altitude: 52,266 feet
  • Speed: 250 knots
  • Heading: 55.00°
  • Elapsed Time59:52

Answer: What has been done to the tires to avoid future problems?

The question was this: "What changes have been made to the wheels to prevent 'flat tires' like what happened to Steve at Bournemouth and Karkow at KSLN? "

Here is the answer:
"There are no tubes in the tires. Likely the air is leaking out through the wheels which consist of two pieces bolted together. The material types for the o-ring that seals between the wheel halves has been changed. However we are experiencing extremely cold temperatures so the o-rings may have no effect."

Answer: How far ahead is the simulator?

Brad Amstutz the flight instructor, and former K-State student, who is simulating Steve's flight is approximately five hours ahead of the GlobalFlyer. Brad is altering his course to decrease the distance between them.

Other events Steve has participated in.

Steve has participated in a lot of events, here are some of the more unusual events he has been in.

Iditarod Dogsled Race 1165 mile race across Alaska, 47th Place March 1-15, 1992
Ironman Triathlon (Hawaii) 2.4 mi. swim, 112 mi. bike, 26.1 mi. run October 26, 1996eh

For a complete list of Steve's participation check out the K-State at Salina web-site.
Steve's bio at the K-State Salina site

Steve turns North

Steve has started the journey North. He is heading toward the West coast of Mexico.

Answer: Why is Steve so far South?

Steve is still flying over the Equator over the Pacific Ocean. Steve is flying as South as the Equator to extend his distance. The winds over the Equator are light, so this was the perfect spot to extend the distance for this flight without hurting economy.

Lat: N0.00127
Long: W150.78936
Altitude: 52,505 feet
Groundspeed: 266 knots
Heading: 90.30°
Elapsed Time58:23

Steve's position

Steve is still over the Pacific Ocean cruising at a speed of 265 knots and an altitude of 52,307.

  • Lat: N0.00168
  • Long: W153.04910
  • Heading: 87.90°
  • Elapsed Time57:51

FInd out more about the GlobalFlyer

We have been receiving some great questions regarding detailed technical information. For more technical information, the GlobalFlyer website has an engineering section; Scaled Composites also has a great deal of information about the design and structure of the plane.


Scaled Composites

Answer: How is Steve doing on fuel?

We have questions about Steve's fuel status, it is good. After 56 hours of flight there is 3,300 pounds left.

Steve checks in with Mission Control

Steve just called Mission Control and reported no fuel loss and the fuel calculations are looking good to arrive back in Salina. Steve also talked to Mrs. Fossett for a few minutes.

Update on the flight instructor simulating the flight.

Flight instructor Brad Amstutz has been simulating Steve's flight. He is doing very well when the web update team went to see him he was in good spirits with a smile on his face. He has had about 4 hours of sleep total since Tuesday morning. He is currently ahead of Steve's position, because he cannot simulate all of the flight conditions.

It's cold up there.

It is cold above the Equator with outside temperatures reaching a low of -77.C during the flight.



Steve Fossett

Steve holds 110 records in five different sports, 70 of which remain unbroken, he considers his 2005 flight in the GlobalFlyer as one of his most important achievements. Flying around the world solo, non-stop and without refueling, he started and finished this record in Salina, Kan., with assistance from K-State at Salina students. It was a feat of engineering, aviation and sheer human endurance that placed Steve in the record books and in the history books, alongside the likes of Charles Lindbergh.

Answer: Number of tires

There are four tires on the GlobalFlyer: two tires on the nose gear, and one each on the left and right main gear.

Answer: Website hits

Question: Approximately how many "hits" have you had on your web site?

As of approximately 2:00 p.m. CST, the website has had 20,740 hits total. Of those, 6,734 were today alone.

Steve is over the Pacific Ocean

Steve is still over the Pacific Ocean heading toward the western coast of Mexico. It will probably be early tomorrow morning before Steve reaches Mexico.

Lat: S0.00026
Long: W163.90933
Altitude: 51,540 feet
Speed: 264 knots
Heading: 89.00°
Elapsed Time

Meet the web update team.

The web update team (or bloggers)from left to right Jeff Easter, Lindsey Boeckman, Brian Weber, Robin Mikols, Justin Stuhltatz, Yuki Narita, Cristina Thurlow, Janet Thurlow, not in the picture Micah Westblade, Floyd Abang and Tricia Erker.

For the first time, K-State at Salina students will be responsible for all of the Web site tracking of Steve’s record attempt. This will include an around-the-clock continuous blog, updated several times each hour, as well as position and weather updates as Steve progresses around the world. This project will require excellent communication skills, as well as a technical understanding of aviation, engineering and technology. The Web sites that followed Steve’s previous GlobalFlyer record attempts attracted millions of hits from around the world, so posting the updates and information will be a critical role to play in a successful mission.

Audio removed from internet feed.

The audio has been removed from the internet live feed. This caused a momentary signal loss, but the signal is back to normal.

Steve's Position

Steve is over the Pacific Ocean he reached the equator about 45 minutes ago.

Lat: N0.00048
Long: W167.45605
Altitude: 51,920 feet
Speed: 253 knots
Heading: 89.20°
Elapsed Time

Answer: Who flew the GlobalFlyer back to Salina?

John Karkow, the GlobalFlyer project engineer for Scaled Composites, flew the GlobalFlyer back to Salina Kansas from England.
There was no damage on the landing in England. The only damage was to the tires(two of four tires were flat) the plane itself was not harmed in any way.

Steve's Records

Steve Fossett currently holds records in a variety of areas, including:

21 Outright World Records in Sailing
10 World Records in Gliders
6 Solo Around the World attempts in Ballooning
3 Single Handed Records
9 Race Records

In addition to these records, he has many other accomplishments.

Answer: High winds

Question: How will high winds effect the landing tomorrow?

Currently, the winds are forecasted to be lighter than they are today. GlobalFlyer will land into the wind. High winds will enable Steve to land with a slower ground speed. This means that he will need less runway distance to land than normal.

Mrs. Fossett made a call

Mrs. Fossett made a call to Steve, and he said he is doing all right. The outside air temperature is -77 degrees Celsius.

Answer: Changes to the GlobalFlyer fuel systems

Question: Were there any changes made to the fuel or fuel vent system after the
last flight that prevented the loss of fuel this time?

There were no changes made to the plane from the last flight which flew out of England last month. There had been changes made to the plane before it made the flight out of England.
Mission Control theorizes that one of the reasons that the fuel did not vent over this takeoff may have been because Steve climbed slower and pressure inside the tanks had time to equalize to the pressure outside.

Meet the aircraft maintenance team

The aircraft maintenance team consists of
James Reed, Will Klein, Josh Hill,
Landon Truetken, Mike Newlin, Eric Lawrence.

The aircraft ground crew provides maintenance work to the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer in preparation for a flight, as well as recovery efforts on the plane after a flight. In preparation for the next record attempt, the team has been making adjustments and modifications to be certain that it is in the top condition for Steve to fly around the world again.

Answer: What sleep conditioning does Steve do before the flight?

Question: What does Steve do for sleep conditioning before the flight, and does he sleep a lot when he returns?

Answer: Steve gets a normal amount of sleep up to the flight and he will usually sleep for about 10 hours a night for a few nights when he returns.

Steve is over the Pacific Ocean

Steve is currently over the Pacific Ocean.

Lat: N8.74132
Long: W174.35885
Altitude: 51,999 feet
Groundspeed: 235 knots
Heading: 152.10°
Elapsed Time

International Date Line

The International Date Line is the imaginary line on the Earth that separates two consecutive calendar days. That is the date in the Eastern hemisphere, to the left of the line, is always one day ahead of the date in the Western hemisphere. It has been recognized as a matter of convenience and has no force in international law.

Answer: What technology did Steve use to talk to the space station

Question: What technology did Steve use to talk to the space station

The space station has an ISDN satellite phone and Steve has satellite phone on the Iridum network. Steve also uses that phone to contact Mission Control.

Steve's expected arrival

Steve's expected arrival is Friday March 17th mid-day.

Answer: News Media inquires

Question: How many inquires do you get from the news media both Foreign and Domestic?

We have had a lot of news media inquiries, mostly domestic. Most American major networks and cable news outlets have contacted us to learn more about Steve's flight. In addition, we've had e-mail inquiries from individuals around the U.S., as well as Canada, Germany, Israel, France and the Czech Republic.

GlobalFlyer flight simulator

There is a GlobalFlyer flight simulator available for you to try out. It is available on the GlobalFlyer website, and we have provided a direct link to it.

GlobalFlyer Flight Simulator

Steve's position

Steve is over the Pacific Ocean he passed the International Date Line a little while ago.

Lat: N12.84661
Long: W178.52945
Altitude: 51,409 feet
Groundspeed: 250 knots
Heading: 128.30°
Elapsed Time

Steve chats with the International Space Station

Steve spoke with International Space Station Commander, Astronaut William McArthur, orbiting in the International Space Station just a few minutes ago!

Yet another exciting first during this amazing record attempt!

Flight Data:
Lat: N13.58429
Long: W179.46629
Altitude: 51627 ft
Speed: 240 kt
Heading: 129.10°
Elapsed Time: 49:42

Photo Courtesy:

Answer: Fossett Family

Question: Do Mrs. and Mr. Fossett have children, and where are they living?

The Fossett's do not have any children.

Their main base is located in Chicago, IL., while they also maintain residences in Beaver Creek, CO., and Carmel, CA.

Morning checkup

Mrs. Fossett came in to check on Steve and see how the flight was progressing. They spoke briefly on the phone about the flight and how he was doing.

In just a few minutes Steve will be receiving a telephone call from the International Space Station orbiting overhead.

Flight Data:
Lat: N16.34959
Long: E177.21641
Altitude: 51764 ft
Speed: 255 kt
Heading: 130.80°
Elapsed Time: 48:41

Answer: Oxygen

Where does Steve get his high altitude essential oxygen from - a tank or a generator?

Steve's oxygen is provided by the pressurization system from the jet engine. In an emergency, if the engine quits, he has a supplemental oxygen bottle on board that will provide enough oxygen for an emergency descent.

Great Question!

2 Days Aloft

Steve has now been aloft for 2 days straight, nothing new for him, but quite a feat!

He is currently over the Pacific Ocean and will be crossing South of Hawaii, heading for the Equator.

Flight Data:
Lat: N18.28965
Long: E174.83458
Altitude: 51535 ft
Speed: 262 kt
Heading: 129.80°
Elapsed Time: 48:00

Answer: Fuel Tank Switching

How often does Steve switch between the fuel tanks during the flight?

Right now the GlobalFlyer fuel system is set on "Auto Mode". Fuel from the wings gravity feeds into the boom tanks, and from there is fed to the tank behind Steve. The engine draws its fuel from the tank behind Steve for use in combustion. When in "Auto Mode" the fuel is taken from one of the 4 main boom tanks, 2 in each boom, and moved into the tank behind Steve. The system will switch between the tanks automatically every time 50lbs of fuel is burned.

Answer: Ice buildup

There is very little, if any, moisture in the higher altitudes that Steve is flying in. This eliminates the need for deicing equipment on the surfaces of the aircraft.

As for inside the aircraft, Steve has a defrost system to prevent ice from building up on the exterior canopy.

Steve heads South

Steve's currently on a Southeast heading, taking him south of the Hawaiian Islands. On previous attempts Steve made his Ocean crossings North of the Hawaiian Islands. This route change is a major part of the added distance that will set Steve firmly in the record books once again.

Flight Data:
Lat: N24.12887
Long: E166.94985
Altitude: 48363 ft
Speed: 290 kt
Heading: 126.50°
Elapsed Time: 45:56

Answer: View from the top

What does the view look like for Steve at these high altitudes?

The following photos are what Steve has seen in previous record flights:
Steve's view can be very different, depending on the weather and terrain he is traveling over.

This photo shows him over the Atlas Mountains in Africa on his first record flight.

This photo shows the GlobalFlyer over weather systems near the Atlas Mountains during the first record flight.

Photos Courtesy:

Answer: Flight Characteristics

The aspect ratio of GlobalFlyer is 32.5. The aspect ratio of a wing is defined as the square of the span divided by the wing area. A higher aspect ratio gives a lower drag and a better glide angle. This is a relatively high aspect ratio.

The most efficient angle of attack for best range varies throughout the flight as the aircraft weight changes. It is about 3 degrees at the beginning of the cruise segment and 1 degree at the end.

The wings and tails use custom airfoils designed by aerodynamicist John Ronczof, Gemini Technologies. John also designed the airfoils for the Rutan Voyager and Beech Starship.

GREAT questions, don't stop now!

Call from Steve

Mission Control got a phone call from Steve.
He's been able to take more "power naps." He has also requested block altitude change from FL450 through FL490. This is due to more favorable winds at higher altitude.

Answer: Flight plan changes to add distance

The question was asked, "Would Steve alter his flight plan if fuel allowed in order to increase the distance record?"

There are 50 pre-selected points on Steve's route that have been approved by the FAI. He will fly the pre-selected route and cover just over 22,000 nm.

ETA of landfall

GlobalFlyer is currently flying over the Pacific Ocean.
We estimate at the current ground speed, he will be making landfall at Baja, Mexico at 21:17 Thursday CST (03:17 Friday UTC).

Answer: Altitude fluctuations

There have been some questions as to why Steve's altitude has been fluctuating.

The answer is simple, Steve has been given a block altitude clearance from FL450 to FL470 (45,000' - 47,000'), allowing him to fly with the up and down drafts freely. He can also find the most favorable winds within that block, without the need to amend his clearance.

Also, the altitude readouts that have been posted on the blogs are from differing sources at different times. The majority of the altitudes are provided by the "Blue Sky Network", which is GPS based. Some of the blogs as well as the ticker on the main web page have included the "pressure altitude" from Steve's flight data. These two systems have some slight variance between them.

Keep the questions coming!

Situation Report

Steve's situation is normal.

There is no indication of any problems with the fuel system, which has had some leakage on previous record attempts.

Currently he is starting his long journey over the Pacific.

He has traveled a total of 11,866 Miles, in 42 hours 21 minutes.

Flight Data:
Lat: N34.51549
Long: E148.51032
Altitude: 47112 ft
Speed: 353 kt
Heading: 112.30°
Elapsed Time 42:22

Steve called Mission Control

Steve called Mission Control.
He entered the Pacific Ocean and is ready to get some rest.