Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Space Events & Happenings
  GlobalFlyer possible launch February 7th

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   GlobalFlyer possible launch February 7th
gliderpilotuk
Member

Posts: 3043
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 02-04-2006 08:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks to Robert and Kevin Carrico who covered last year's round-the-world GlobalFlyer flight, I am hoping to provide some coverage of the upcoming attempt to fly further than any other aircraft in history - over 700 miles further than any aircraft or balloon has flown. If successful, the aircraft will land at Kent International Airport, near London, where I hope to be.

This morning I received the following email from Virgin's PR manager:

"Steve Fossett has called a Code Green for Tuesday 7 February:
We plan to attempt a launch on February 7 at first light at 6:42 AM. It is a tough decision because there is the risk of a small weather front reaching Kennedy Space Center. If I do not launch before the front arrives, the rain and warm temperatures would result in a cancellation for that date.

We are proceeding to Kennedy Space Center for final preparations.
Steve Fossett"

I'll post further details as they arise, or you can check out:
http://www.virginatlanticglobalflyer.com

Paul Bramley


gliderpilotuk
Member

Posts: 3043
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 02-06-2006 02:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kennedy Space Center, Florida (February 6, 2006) - Steve Fossett today confirmed that, pending any changes in the predicted weather systems both at take off and on his route around the world, he aims to take off in the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer tomorrow morning (7 February 2006) at day break from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The record which Steve is aiming for is the longest flight ever – one of aviation’s “Absolute” records. There are 15 “Absolute” records in aviation certified by the governing body of aviation record attempts, the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) which cover aircraft, balloons and airships. Steve Fossett currently holds three of these records.

Steve’s route will take him from Kennedy Space Center in Florida across the North Atlantic. He will then fly over North Africa and on to the Middle East to then cross over India, China, Japan and the Pacific. He will then fly over Mexico and back across the US for his final leg, which will require him to cross the Atlantic for a second time. In order to secure the record he must then fly over Shannon in Ireland and onto his final destination, Kent International Airport.

Steve Fossett, pilot of the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer, commented:

“As many of you know I've attempted (and been lucky enough to succeed) in a few World Record attempts in my time but to achieve the Ultimate Distance Ever Flown would be a dream come true. Last March the Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer lost quite a bit of fuel during the round the world attempt but still performed magnificently. I believe that these problems have been rectified, which is why I am determined to test this theory by attempting the longest flight ever flown by a balloon, airship or airplane. This might seem a bit crazy but I've been called crazy before! Everyone who has attempted to set or break World Records will know that if it isn't a true test and challenge there's no point in taking it on.

“I can only hope that the speed of the jet streams performs better than expected in certain parts of the route and those predicted strong remain so - it would be great to land in the homeland of Phileas Fogg in the predicted 80 hours having, in Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer, just achieved the ultimate distance ever.”

trajan
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 02-06-2006 04:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for trajan   Click Here to Email trajan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cheers Paul,

Will be interested in updates - a rare event for aerospace records to be set in our country.

Thanks,

Jason

gliderpilotuk
Member

Posts: 3043
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 02-07-2006 10:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Steve Fossett's Ultimate Flight take off has been cancelled due to a fuel leak.

At around 06:50 local Florida time, Steve and the team discovered a mechanical fault on the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer which meant it would be unsafe to take off and attempt the record.

Jon Karkow of Scaled Composites explained the problem:

"Unfortunately for today a small mechanical issue called a halt to the flight. We have discoverd a small fuel leak which happens to be an element of the fuel system which we changed last flight. This new element has never been tested with a full fuel load before... We learned once it was fully fuelled that we had a small leak in that system. The leak is a fairly simple thing to fix but it will take around 24 hours because it requires fuel sealant material.

"One of the new vent systems that has been added in the boom tank is where the problem occured and one of the vent lines that penetrate the tank has a leak and this was discovered when fuel started leaking out of the wheel well."

Steve, disappointed not to be setting off on his latest record attempt, said: "We discovered the fuel leak about 25 minutes ago just as we were putting my equipment in the airplane and we were ready to take off on time as planned."

Of the attempt rescheduling, Richard Branson said: "Both of us are balloonists and we have had one occasion where I had to wait three months, but don't worry, it won't be such a long wait this time."

Although good weather conditions are expected for the rest of the week, Steve said he does not expect to launch tomorrow. Further analysis of jet streams and weather conditions will be carried out during the next few hours to assess whether the flight is possible this week.

gliderpilotuk
Member

Posts: 3043
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 02-08-2006 07:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fossett airborne at 12:22 UTC on Wed Feb 8th.
Live tracking here:
http://www.virginatlanticglobalflyer.com/MissionControl/Tracking/

Paul

gliderpilotuk
Member

Posts: 3043
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 02-09-2006 02:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
TIME: 11.00 EST
16.00 UTC
ELAPSED JOURNEY TIME: 27 hrs 40 mins
DISTANCE COVERED: 8,819 nm 10, 150 Miles
SPEED: 300 knots
345 Mph (ground speed)
FUEL REMAINING: 8,850 lbs
VAGF POSITION: 23 N / 82 E (COORDINATES)
260 nm east of Bhopial, India (GEOGRAPHICAL)

SUMMARY OF FLIGHT
Searing temperatures in the cockpit and slow winds have severely tested Steve in the first 24 hours. The ventilation cooling system appears to have malfunctioned causing temperatures to rise up to more than 54 degrees Celsius in the cockpit. As a result, Steve was forced to drink a significant amount of the 10 litres of water on board which is all he has for the whole trip. The problem will improve when the aircraft gets lighter and the engine does not have to work so hard.
Steve is currently experiencing severe turbulence over India.

Jon Karkow, Chief Engineer and Launch Director, expanded:

“We are very concerned about the winds in the final push of the flight, the Pacific is looking strong but the winds over the Atlantic are looking very weak. We calculated before launch that VAGF would reach its final destination at Kent International with between 500 and 1,000lbs of fuel left, due to the 750lb of fuel the Virgin Atlantic Globalflyer lost during ascent from Kennedy Space Center, we have been left with no margin at all to play with. The winds over the Atlantic will be crucial and the team at Mission Control are working round the clock analysing the movements of the jet streams. Steve will continue to search out the best winds; even the smallest increase in speed will bring the Record closer. We have to pass five major way points at 5,000km distance to make the record official but the officiating body doesn’t care what we do between them. We are trying to straighten out the route and get permission to fly a slightly different route, maximizing the wind speeds - it is a lot of work.

It could go either way at this point - there is some pessimism and some optimism, it is going to be interesting the whole way round. I do not think we will really know until he touches down in Kent.''

gliderpilotuk
Member

Posts: 3043
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 02-10-2006 05:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
TIME: 17:00 EST (Eastern Standard Time) 22.00 UTC (Universal Time Clock)
ELASPSED JOURNEY TIME: 57 hrs 38 mins
DISTANCE COVERED: 18,214 nm 20,960 miles

SPEED: 299 knots
344 mph (ground speed)

FUEL REMAINING: 3200 lbs

VAGF POSITION: 32N 101W (COORDINATES)

Flying over Big Spring in Texas (GEOGRAPHICAL)

SUMMARY OF FLIGHT
The Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer is currently in US airspace flying over Big Spring, Texas. Steve Fossett is 1416 miles from circumnavigating the earth when he will have flown 22,383 miles.

Steve Fossett, pilot of the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer, said:

“The final 24 hours will be no walk in the park. I am seriously worried about the amount of fuel remaining, given the weakness of the jet streams across America and the Atlantic.

“The decision of whether to go for it or turn back is looming, currently I would say the chances are no more than 50/50. I will have until around 11:30UTC, a couple of hours into the final leg across the Atlantic, when I reach the point of no return and will be forced to make this crucial decision. It would be devastating to have to ditch the Ultimate Distance Record when I am on the home straight.

“At launch we were aware that the jet streams on this final leg were far from ideal but from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida long range weather forecasts were not showing any vast improvement on a combined ground and round the world flight conditions for the coming days. It is a result of this that we took the decision to launch this record attempt in conditions that were less favourable than I would have hoped. That being said I have a fantastic team at Mission Control who are continuing to work on both wind speeds and fuel efficiency over the coming hours to give me the best chance of succeeding.”

Sir Richard Branson, chairman of Virgin Atlantic, commented:

“In the coming hours Steve will achieve his second solo circumnavigation of the globe which is a huge feat by anyone’s standards and something no one else has ever achieved, but Steve wouldn’t be Steve if he didn’t want to push himself, and the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer, to the absolute limits and break the Ultimate Distance Flight sometime tomorrow.”

Kevin Carrico
Member

Posts: 70
From: Salina, Kansas, USA
Registered: May 2004

posted 02-10-2006 05:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin Carrico   Click Here to Email Kevin Carrico     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Paul:
It is great to read your reports. Excitement here in the USA is beginning to ramp up just a bit. I will be alternating between the collectSPACE website and the virginatlanticglobalflyer site to stay as close to the new developments as I can. Three Kansas State University of Salina students from our local college of Technology and Aviation are currently at Mission Control in England and contributing. Word got back here that Steve Fossett almost had to bail out of the plane given turbulence over India yesterday. Can you tell our readers about your specific involvement in covering the landing? I am interested to know what kind of access you will have and when you will have it or whether this has been disclosed. Keep up the great work!

gliderpilotuk
Member

Posts: 3043
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 02-11-2006 02:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
TIME: 03.00 EST
08.00 UTC

ELASPSED JOURNEY TIME: 67hrs 35mins
DISTANCE COVERED: 21131nm 24317miles
SPEED: 250 knots

FUEL REMAINING: 1800lbs

SUMMARY OF FLIGHT
Since the last update Steve has been travelling in a north-easterly direction up the coast of the US and Canada at 48,000ft. The next two hours of calculations by the team at Mission Control are critical as when Steve has passed Newfoundland he will no longer have airports to hand on the coast and will be flying over open water for a long stretch while he attempts to cross the Atlantic. Therefore the decision has to be made as to whether it is safe for Steve to continue across the Atlantic towards England.

In aviation terms this point is known as the ‘point of no return’ – Steve Fossett and the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer will reach this critical point at approximately 10.30 UTC.

Steve Fossett, pilot of the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer, said:

“The time is getting closer when it is make or break. It’s been an incredible ride so far and one that I don’t want to end until I touch down at Kent International.”

gliderpilotuk
Member

Posts: 3043
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 02-11-2006 03:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Kevin,
So far my involvement has been merely to keep awatching eye and receive the regular Virgin press releases. The website and the info they issue by email is of high quality. There's almost no coverage here in the UK in the regular media.

As I write, Fossett has just passed Newfoundland and has about 1.5 hrs to go before they make the go/no-go decision, ie the point at which he either has enough fuel to reach landfall in Ireland, or only enough to turn him around back to Canada.
You are right that he considered bailing out over India as he was afraid the turbulence was going to snap a wing. With a 114ft wingspan, turbulence is felt at about 4 times the strength an aircraft feels. I've flown gliders with 75ft wingspan and I can tell you: those wings bend!

Worst case scenario for me would be that he lands in Ireland! I live about 100 miles from Manston where he is due to land this evening, so I'll be tracking the go/no-go decision and leaving here mid afternoon. Pity it will be dark but I will see what I can report.

He has already exceeded the distance of the previous RTW flight which is an amazing achievement in itself.

Paul

tegwilym
Member

Posts: 2284
From: Renton, WA USA
Registered: Jan 2000

posted 02-11-2006 11:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
He made it!
I tried to find coverage on TV and the internet of the landing - nothing.
CNN had a brief picture of the plane, said he was landing soon, then went to another Katrina story.

T

Kevin Carrico
Member

Posts: 70
From: Salina, Kansas, USA
Registered: May 2004

posted 02-11-2006 11:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin Carrico   Click Here to Email Kevin Carrico     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
MSNBC and FOX News are reporting that Fossett had to declare a Mayday and make an emergency landing due to a Generator problem on the plane. MSNBC said they were planning on bringing live coverage of the landing at Kent International but, because of the emergency, Steve had to land elsewhere. I would imagine news crews are attempting to relocate to the site of the landing at the present time.

lunarrv15
Member

Posts: 1295
From: Cincinnati, Ohio, Hamilton
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 02-11-2006 11:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lunarrv15   Click Here to Email lunarrv15     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
CNN didn't mention of the emergency landing. They showed the plane landing and said he successfully made around the world and over teh Atlantic twice.

They added he didn't abort after some 7,500 pounds of fuel lost during takeoff?

Kevin Carrico
Member

Posts: 70
From: Salina, Kansas, USA
Registered: May 2004

posted 02-11-2006 12:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin Carrico   Click Here to Email Kevin Carrico     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
MSNBC currently has live coverage and is reporting a full scale emergency was called on the south coast of England. Apparently, the windows fogged up and the plane landed excessively hard causing the wheels to blow out. Steve will be giving a press conference is moments.

Dirk
Member

Posts: 575
From: Belgium
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 02-11-2006 02:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dirk   Click Here to Email Dirk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On the Belgian TV news there was a short item about the flight and an short interview with weatherman Dehenauw.

Dirk

gliderpilotuk
Member

Posts: 3043
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 02-11-2006 05:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just got back from a mad day so here's a brief report.
I arrived at Manston about 15 mins before he was due to land. Suddenly a mini-conference was called and it was clear Fossett was diverting to Bournemouth, about 120 miles away. He had generator failure and was icing up. He blew both main tires on landing but was unhurt.
Within half an hour he was in his Citation with Branson flying to Manston, where the press corps were waiting. He gave a 20 minute press conference and was clearly glad to have landed safely after the Mayday. It didn't look like he had only had 2hrs sleep in nearly 4 days. I managed to get a brief word with him, a handshake and a photo. What a modest guy.
Guinness Records and the British Aero club presented him with certification.
I'll write more fully tomorrow and include some photos.
Paul

Astro Bill
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 02-12-2006 12:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Astro Bill   Click Here to Email Astro Bill     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is the latest information on the flight.

[This message has been edited by collectSPACE Admin (edited February 12, 2006).]

1202 Alarm
Member

Posts: 276
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: Nov 2003

posted 02-12-2006 04:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 1202 Alarm     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by lunarrv15:
CNN didn't mention of the emergency landing. They showed the plane landing and said he successfully made around the world and over teh Atlantic twice.

They added he didn't abort after some 7,500 pounds of fuel lost during takeoff?


Believing CNN is quite an (unsafe) bet.
Not only Fosset had to do his emergency landing, but at this time, more than 18hrs after touchdown, there's still not a single image or film of his actual arrival. I hope we'll have an amateur DV film or at least some pictures, but since all the media were in Kent plus it was already dark, we might never have a shot of his landing, which is, by 2006 standards, quite amazing.
CNN ? lol...

gliderpilotuk
Member

Posts: 3043
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 02-12-2006 04:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Photos from Manston Feb 11th 2006:

Paul Bramley

[This message has been edited by gliderpilotuk (edited February 12, 2006).]

gliderpilotuk
Member

Posts: 3043
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 02-12-2006 05:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Phew, my 1st attempt at uploadng photos actually worked!

Sat Feb 11th 2006.

Virgin press office emailed me at 11am to say that their landing was "on" and would I like to go in one of their press buses from Central London to Manston airport. On boarding the bus we were told that the landing had been brought forward and we had 2 hrs to travel the 80+ miles. Naturally we got stuck in the horrendous London traffic for over half an hour and arrived with 15 minutes to spare.
We were whisked through security and towards the open-top press bus that had been delayed for us. It was a perfect winter's evening - around 32F/0C and a glorious sunset from the direction Steve would be coming. Then it all went haywire...
Everyone was recalled from the bus and there was an air of concern. The full-wall monitoring screen showed Steve descending quite rapidly from 16,000ft over Bournemouth - around 120 miles away. The CEO of Virgin Atlantic told us that Steve had issued a Mayday and was landing at Bournemouth due to generator failure. Steve had to contend with conditions that resulted in him emergency landing the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer virtually blind, as the cockpit window bubble was completely covered in ice. The aircraft hit the tarmac hard and burst the two main tyres on landing, and had to be pushed off the runway.
Steve Fossett landed safely at 17:07 after having flown a distance of 26,389.3 miles (41,467.506 kms). The unverified time for the record is 76 hours and 45 minutes.

The champagne started flowing....

After a quick medical Steve jumped into his Citation which had been flying chase and flew to Manston. Steve bounced down the steps, greeted his wife and then walked along the press line. By now the temperature was sub-zero so this didn't last long. Inside he held a 20 minute press conference with Richard Branson and was presented with the Guinness world flight distance award and one from the Royal Aero Club. There could not have been a greater contrast between Sir Richard's effervesence and Steve's quiet modesty. He said he had managed around 2 hrs sleep in the 77hrs of flight but looked none the worse for it. Although shaken by the emergency landing he said that the scariest moments were the take-off, which required a very long run and incurred a bird strike, and the turbulence over Bhopal, India which threatened the integrity of the aircraft. The inevitable question "what next?" was met with "get some sleep". Both Branson and Fossett mingled freely with the press and VIPs and I managed to get a word and handshake with both of them. Sir Richard's parents were on the scene and I had a nice conversation with his charming mother about her wartime gliding experience.

Despite the lack of aircraft at Manston it was a remarkable day and I was pleased to be there. Virgin were the ultimate hosts and ran a very smooth, professional event.
Thanks to Kevin for sowing the seed of an idea and to Robert for allowing me to represent collectSpace.

Oh, and Congratulations to Steve Fossett and all involved with Virgin GlobalFlyer.

Paul Bramley

[This message has been edited by gliderpilotuk (edited February 12, 2006).]

Steve Procter
Member

Posts: 971
From: Leeds, Yorkshire, UK
Registered: Oct 2000

posted 02-12-2006 08:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve Procter   Click Here to Email Steve Procter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There was some 'footage' of the Bournemouth landing on last nights news. It was very poor quality and to be honest looked like someone had filmed it on a mobile phone with a camera.

Steve

Scott
Member

Posts: 3293
From: Houston, TX
Registered: May 2001

posted 02-12-2006 09:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for sharing those photos, Paul! Very nice.

He had flight problems and yet you still got to meet him and shake his hand - what luck. Congratulations.

Kevin Carrico
Member

Posts: 70
From: Salina, Kansas, USA
Registered: May 2004

posted 02-12-2006 05:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin Carrico   Click Here to Email Kevin Carrico     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Paul:
Thank you for sharing those awesome photos! It sounds like you had a great experience and I was glad to hear you describe Steve as humble. When I covered the event for collectSPACE last year in Salina, Kansas, I had an opportunity to see Steve with the press before and after his flight, from my observations, I came to the conclusion that he was an incredibly humble and kind person. I have a neat autograph story that I want to share. Over the past twelve months since Steve's famous round the world trip from Salina, the Globalflyer plane has been in a hanger at the Salina airport. Steve was in Salina a couple weeks ago to do some work on the plane. In my autograph collection, I have a business card of an Aloha Airlines pilot that was signed on the back by Charles Lindbergh. Mr. Lindbergh signed the card and then dated it and wrote "Hawaii" on the back of the business card. Well, I have a friend who works at Kansas State Salina and she took it out to the hanger early one morning. Steve was the only one in the hanger and he was just sitting on a folding chair in this huge hanger going over his flight plan to Florida. My friend approched him and asked him if he would sign the flip side of this business card which had been signed by Lindbergh in 1968. Steve said that it would be a real honor to sign something signed by Lindbergh. Steve signed it and also dated it and wrote "Salina, Kansas" on the card. He spend several moments talking about Lindbergh and said that he had been over to Hawaii and visited Lindbergh's grave site in the past. I now have that card in my collection and I really think it is one of a kind. I will treasure it always. I wish that I could have gotten a photo with Steve but I just didn't get that mission accomplished. Steve has a book coming out soon called "Chasing the Wind" or something like that. I will be reading that as soon as it comes out. I cannot say how happy I am to know that you got to be involved with one of the great aviation events of our lifetime.
Kevin

gliderpilotuk
Member

Posts: 3043
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 02-18-2006 10:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great story Kevin and thanks again for your help with my "mission".
I understand that VGF is headed for NASM which doesn't surprise me. I doubt anyone would want to fly it across the Pond again after the beating it took over India and the hard landing.

Paul

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2012 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement