GlobalFlyer on a wing and a prayer
Goes for glory, despite fuel worries
Steve Fossett has decided to attempt the last part of his round-the-world adventure between Hawaii and the west coast of the US - despite concerns that he does not have enough fuel left to make land.
At 0330 GMT this morning Fossett told mission controllers he would "go for it" rather than aborting the mission at Hawaii, even though his GlobalFlyer is apparently missing 2,600lb of essential fuel. If tailwinds are not favourable, then he is unlikely to reach another landing strip.
The reason for the "missing" fuel is baffling the GlobalFlyer team, but they suspect that a greater then expected burn rate on takeoff or shortly thereafter may be to blame. Alternatively, there may be some problem with GlobalFlyer's fuel burn sensors or fuel tank probes. They did, however, use a press conference last night to reject one reporter's cheeky theory that they had not actually loaded enough fuel before take-off.
As for Fossett, he was evidently in good spirits as he told the press: "I hit the jet stream very well which has put us in a better fuel position. I have every hope of making it to Salina [his departure point in Kansas] tomorrow." ®