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GlobalFlyer over the Pacific

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The Virgin GlobalFlyer and its pilot Steve Fossett have passed the halfway point in their bid to break the record for the world's longest flight. The experimental plane is currently over the Pacific, with next land sighting set for Mexico's Baja peninsula at about 1800 GMT.

The team at mission control in Kent report that jetstream tailwinds in the Pacific are strong, and Fossett is making good progress, having enjoyed spectacular views of Japan's Mount Fuji. There has been no more fuel lost, and engineers now calculate that he will land with up to 1000lbs to spare.

GlobalFlyer is set to lose speed and gain altitude as its weight decreases. Conditions aboard are said to be uncomfortable, with Fossett enduring extreme temperatures, turbulence, and sleeping for no more than five minutes at a time.

Mission sponsor Richard Branson expressed sinister worries about his daredevil friend: “I have always suspected Steve was half human, half android, and after what he's been through I believe I may be right!”®

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