Another Mysterious Fuel Loss


As in last year’s round-the-world trip, Fossett again had trouble with the GlobalFlyer’s fuel system. About 750 pounds of fuel was lost overboard early in the flight. The loss meant that finding the best tailwinds and carefully managing the fuel burn were that much more critical. When Fossett landed in England, he had 200 pounds of fuel left in the tanks. The flight exceeded the current record for the longest airplane flight held by Burt Rutan’s Voyager aircraft, which flew for 24,987 miles in 1986, as well as the longest flight by any kind of aircraft, 25,361 miles flown by the Breitling Orbiter balloon in 1999. The launch had been scratched last Tuesday when new vents in the fuel system began leaking under the pressure of 18,000 pounds of fuel. The record, which is not official until ratified by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, would be the 110th world record for Fossett.