Fossett Claims Gliding Speed Record

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Aviation record collector Steve Fossett and New Zealand soaring expert Terry Delore have set a speed record for gliding over a 1,250-km (675 nm) triangular course. Fossett and Delore averaged 149.23 kmh (80.56 knots) over the course from Ely, Nev., last week. Delore told Christchurch’s The Press newspaper that even though it wasn’t a “ripper” of a day in the skies over Nevada, they still got the job done. “…We were able to maintain a good and steady pace, even in the absence of cloud for a good chunk of the flight," Delore said. "After 27 attempts and 18,000 km [9,719 nm] of desert flying, the longest-standing world speed record is ours, subject to ratification. We are rapt." In contrast to most of their flights together, Delore said he did more flying on the record flight while Fossett concentrated on navigation and looking for favorable conditions. Delore said they didn’t set out to break the record that day. They intended to test new equipment on the ASH-25 (25 is for the 25-meter wingspan) sailplane. The old record of 143.46 kmh (77.46 knots) was held by German Hans Werner Grosse since 1987.