March 3, 2005 The Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer pilot by Steve Fossett is currently attempting to set a world record for the first solo, non-stop, non-refuelled circumnavigation of the world. The rules state that the record attempt must start and finish at the same airfield, cross all meridians of the globe and must not be less than 23,000 miles. As this is being written, the flight is past the half way mark and looking like it will achieve its aims. You can check Steve’s progress here
With the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer capable of speeds of over 250 knots (285mph) the flight should be completed inside 80 hours. The route began from an airfield in mid-Western United States and then followed the jet stream winds across the Atlantic to the UK. From there Steve headed south-east across the Mediterranean and the Gulf before turning east towards Pakistan, India, China and Japan. The final leg of the journey will take the plane out over the Pacific towards Hawaii before crossing the west coast of the US and returning to its launch site.
In the course of the epic journey Steve should fly over or near the following major cities: Montreal, London, Paris, Rome, Cairo, Bahrain, Karachi, Calcutta, Shanghai, Tokyo, Honolulu and Los Angeles. He will also cross major flight routes, meaning that keen-eyed passengers on commercial airliners may be able to spot the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer as it flies several miles above them at around 45,000 feet.