Global Flyer Takes First Hop

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The Global Flyer, Scaled Composites' jet-powered creation intended to circle the globe nonstop, had its first flight Friday and everything seemed to work well. Scaled's Web site says test pilot John Karkow took the long-winged, twin-tailed composite aircraft to 12,000 feet, cycled the gear and flew it from near the stall (54 knots) up to 110 knots. The descent and landing drag chutes were also tested. As AVweb told you in January, billionaire Steve Fossett hopes to be at the controls of the ungainly-looking creation to be the first to fly around the world nonstop and solo. Fellow billionaire Richard Branson is waiting in the wings as a backup if Fossett can't make the trip. In 1986, Voyager became the first aircraft to circumnavigate the earth nonstop but it had two pilots aboard.