21,633 AVwebbers Join Fossett Search

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As a community of aviators, AVweb's subscribers have come through again. On Saturday and Sunday, 21,633 people used the links on AVweb's home page and e-mail alert to log on to Amazon.com's Mechanical Turk site and take part in the search for Steve Fossett. We didn't have the numbers from our normal Monday AVwebFlash e-mail as this was written late Monday, but we expect thousands more will have joined. Amazon.com is amazed, and so are we. It's unlikely that technology has ever united a segment of society like this for a common cause, and it's been an enlightening, if ultimately unsatisfying, experience. Fossett remains lost in the sparseness of Nevada's western frontier, and we hope that just makes everyone look harder. But it's hard not to start accepting that the discovery, when it happens, may not be a happy one.

Still, Steve Fossett's wife is speaking in the present tense about her husband. In a statement issued Monday, Peggy Fossett, Steve's wife of 30 years, thanked everyone involved in the immense search effort, but it's clear she's not giving up hope. "Steve Fossett believes in achieving success through calculated, meticulous planning and organization, and it is that spirit which permeates this team," she said. "Our hopes are high, and I am confident of a successful resolution to this search."

Meanwhile, the conspiracy theorists are on the job. Among the theories bandied about is that the search is really for a lost nuclear cruise missile that was carried aboard a B-52 from North Dakota to Louisiana last week. The search area is about 1,500 miles west of the direct track, but B-52s carry a lot of fuel ... .