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Wed, Dec 17, 2003

Fossett And Delore Achieve 3 New Records With 13 Hour Glider Flight

First Ever 1500 Kilometer Glider Triangle

Flying in the Andes Mountains, Steve Fossett (USA) and Terry Delore (NZL) Saturday capped a highly successful 2003 southern hemisphere summer gliding season with one of the top flights ever in the sport of gliding - the first ever 1500 kilometer (932.1 mile) triangle. Simultaneously, they set three new world records for speed and distance, bringing their season record total to six and their career partnership total to nine.

Their aircraft was a 2-seat, German built ASH 25 Mi high-performance sailplane of carbon-composite construction, with a 25 m (82 ft) wingspan and a 60-1 glide ratio.

Steve Fossett describes the flight:

"We started at 5:45 am from Bariloche International Airport and initially flew south in the mountain wave (updrafts found near mountain ridges) to the first corner of the triangle. Then it got more difficult.

We climbed to 30,500 feet (9,296 m) before beginning the long downwind glide to the second corner. We then had to find thermals (towers of rising warm air) to fly back upwind to the third corner. This is a great way to end the season."

Along with improving the mark for the longest triangle (previously 1400.19 km or 870.08 miles)set by Klaus Holighaus (GER) in January 1993) by over 100 km (62.14 miles), Fossett and Delore's 13 hour flight established three new World Records (all records pending confirmation by the FAI - F�d�ration A�ronautique Internationale): the longest triangle on a pre-declared course - 1502.6 km (933.72 miles), the longest free triangle - 1509.7 km (938.13 miles) and the speed record for a 1500 Km triangle - 119.11 km/h (74.01 mph).

During the six week 2003 season in Argentina, Fossett and Delore have set a total of six new world records -  including the first 2000 km (1242.8 mile) Out and Return glider flight. Teaming up just 13 months ago, the pair have now have set 9 of the 18 Speed and Distance world records for the Open/Unlimited class of gliders.

Steve Fossett is returning home to Beaver Creek (CO) for the holidays, then will depart in early January in an attempt to break the Round the World Sailing Record (currently 64-1/2 days) at the helm of his 125 ft (38.1 meter) catamaran "Cheyenne."  This time he will lead a crew of 13.

FMI: www.fossettchallenge.com

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