...And The Next Great Flight -- GlobalFlyer

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And as we try to quench our curiosity about a fallen adventurer, a modern aviation pioneer is getting set to accomplish something Earhart and her contemporaries could barely have dreamed of. Despite a three-week delay in the preparations, Steve Fossett and his Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer team are confident they'll soon claim a clutch of records in an 80-hour nonstop dash around the world. Fossett will be the only occupant of the jet-powered flying fuel tank that is expected to take off from Salina (Kansas) Municipal Airport in early February. That's right, Salina, Kansas. Fossett says on the GlobalFlyer Web site that a number of factors were considered in choosing the takeoff and landing site for the record attempt. Salina Municipal Airport is near the geographical center of the lower 48 and that gives Fossett plenty of (dry) options should they miscalculate the fuel. There's also Kansas State University adjacent to the airport, whose conference room is now being converted to mission control. Oh, and did we mention the runway? Salina (population 46,000) has one of the longest runways in North America at 12,300 feet, hopefully long enough to get Fossett and his accompanying 18,000 (or so) gallons of fuel airborne.