Condition Green For Global Flyer

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As of our deadline, conditions were looking good for a launch this afternoon for the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer from Salina, Kan. Veteran record-setter Steve Fossett aims to fly the long lanky aircraft solo around the world without stopping, a trip expected to take about 80 hours. Fossett completed a successful taxi test last week, described as a "dress rehearsal" for today's takeoff. The route -- subject to change, of course -- leads from Kansas, past Chicago and Gander, Newfoundland, then across the Atlantic. The route crosses Europe and heads southeast across the Persian Gulf, then across India, China, Japan, and the Pacific. The airplane will return to the U.S. just south of Los Angeles and head for Salina. It will be flying at about 45,000 feet, so to catch a glimpse of it passing by, plan to use a telescope and watch for a lone condensation trail. The launch window for today is between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. local time. The airport has posted information for anyone who wants to view the launch in person.