On this day 9 years ago Steve Fossett, an American businessman and keen aviator, took off in the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer, an aircraft he designed in conjunction with Burt Rutan - the designer of the record breaking Voyager - and sponsored by Richard Branson’s airline, Virgin Atlantic. Fossett departed from Salina, Kansas on the 28th February 2005, in the hope that in his single seat, turbofan powered aircraft, he would become the first pilot to fly solo around the world nonstop. There was concern that the aircraft would not complete the mission, due to a substantial fuel loss of 1,180kg, which Fossett believed had been “siphoned out of the wings in the first hours of the flight". However, luckily, the Pacific winds were behind Fossett and he made the judgement that he could make it back. Arriving back in Kansas 67 hours, two minutes and 38 seconds later on the 3rd March 2005, flying a distance of 22,936 miles, the sleep and food deprived pilot was overjoyed to see his support, being greeted by cheering crowds and marching bands on his return.
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