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Fri, Jan 28, 2005

Global Flyer Launch Delayed

Now Scheduled To Depart On February 6th

Steve Fossett's 'round-the-world record attempt aboard the Global Flyer won't get off the ground as soon as he'd hoped. Instead, Fossett, with backing from aviation entrepreneur and adventurer Richard Branson, will begin his 70+ hour attempt on February 6th.

Blame a change in the jetstream, according to the organization's web site. It's just the kind of delay that Branson's airline, Virgin Atlantic, warned about more than a month ago, according to the Salina Journal. The Global Flyer, built by Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites, needs a tailwind -- a kick in the butt from the jetstream. It generally blows from west to east up to 15 miles above the Earth.

The Global Flyer web site said the jetstream had shifted too far north. Flying in a jetstream that far north, according to the web site, wouldn't give Fossett the distance he needs to set a new 'round-the-world record.

"As anticipated, the correct weather conditions have to be in place for a successful world-record attempt," Tim Rogers, executive director of the Salina Airport Authority, said Wednesday afternoon, quoted in the Journal.

Global Flyer workers are making good use of the extra time, dialing in components at Mission Control, which is located at nearby Kansas State University. Things there, according to the university's PR coordinator, Kristin Magette, are just about ready.

"They’re doing the testing and making sure everything works the way that it’s supposed to," she told the Journal.

FMI: www.virginatlanticglobalflyer.com

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