Fossett Completes Another Round-World Flight

Adventurer Steve Fossett on Friday said he broke the closed-circuit record for a flight that begins and ends in the same place, flying more than 25,000 miles in three days.

Fossett landed his lightweight experimental aircraft, the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer, at Salina Municipal Airport a few hours ahead of schedule, at 9:06 a.m. CST on Friday, more than 74 hours after he took off from the same place.

Fossett said he broke the record, but it still has not been certified, something that could take anywhere from two weeks to a year.

Fossett said he flew about 25,300 miles. The previous closed-circuit record of nearly 25,000 was set in 1986 by Richard Rutan and Jeana Yeager.

"This was a great satisfaction," Fossett told reporters. "It might not mean a lot to people outside of aviation."

Fossett's latest flight comes about a year after he flew out of Salina on the world's first solo nonstop trip around the globe. He returned after 23,000 miles and 67 hours.

Last month, he broke the record for the world's longest aircraft flight, traveling 26,389 miles in about 76 hours.

Fossett piloted the GlobalFlyer on roughly the same route as the flight he took last year, but added several turns to increase the total mileage.

"This is the record I was after," Fossett said.

Fossett did not face problems with fuel and generators, as he did on two previous GlobalFlyer flights, but one of the brakes did not work, causing the plane to do a complete turn on the runway after it landed.

Fossett also said he became restless during his three days in the plane.

"Overall this was a very difficult flight because of the amount of time involved," Fossett said. "On the other hand, the flight went very well."

He said the GlobalFlyer has flown its last flight and he will probably donate it to the Smithsonian Institute.

He did not indicate what his next adventure might be, saying, "There are so many interesting things to do."