Safely on the ground, after last-minute scare
Steve Fossett declared a Mayday emergency and diverted from his intended airport landing, ending up at Bournemouth airport instead of Kent after making a sudden right turn. It turns out he lost all power, apparently because a generator overheated and failed. He was given immediate clearance for an emergency landing at Bournemouth, while crowds of spectators waited for his arrival miles away at Kent International Airport.
The Landing itself was pretty dicey. The windshield was so iced-up that he could only see a few feet ahead, and he blew two tires on the landing. But all's well, both pilot and airplane survived the journey unscathed and racked up a whole series of new world's records, including the longest flight by any kind of aircraft. The unofficial distance travelled was 26,389.3 miles, after a voyage that lasted 76 hours and 45 minutes.
Steve will probably sleep pretty soundly tonight.
Virgin Atlantic chairman Richard Branson plants a big kiss on Steve Fossett moments after the landing of the world's longest nonstop flight.
(Photo taken from Florida Today's blog, the Flame Trench, which is HERE).