Fragile Flyer frightens Fossett

Nearly bailed out, but still going strong

Steve Fossett has told his team at mission control in Kent that he was close to bailing out of his experimental aircraft as it hit extreme turbulence over India. The lightweight and fragile Virgin GlobalFlyer apparently feels its effect four times as much as a commercial jet would.

He said: "I was afraid it was going to break up. It was a scary time and I had my parachute on and I was prepared to bail out in case a wing broke."

This evening he remains above the Pacific, set to make landfall over Mexico at around 1900GMT, an hour later than expected. Latest details here.

If all goes to plan he will land at Kent international airport at Manston late on Saturday.®

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