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Mon, Jul 04, 2005

Vimy Goes The Distance

Fore!

Steve Fossett and Mark Rebholz successfully flew the Vickers Vimy for just over 18 hours across the Atlantic to land on an Irish golf course. The flight departed from Newfoundland at 1919 hrs Saturday and arrived in Ireland at 1704 hrs Sunday.

"This was an endurance test," Fossett said to the AP. "This airplane is very primitive. You have to keep your hands on the controls at all times. If you let go, the plane will go out of control."

The flight was planned to commemorate the first crossing of the Atlantic, the June 1919 flight of John Alcock and Arthur Whitten-Brown. They crossed the Atlantic in 16 hours and 20 minutes. Fossett and Rebholz took a little longer, 18 hours and 15 minutes. They touched down in Clifden on the eighth fairway with about 2000 spectators watching.

They used a compass and sextant to navigate, as in the original flight, although they did have a radio.

"On the way over we were in contact with all the commercial airlines flying overhead," Rebholz said to the AP. "That is a comforting feeling, talking to other people while you're flying."

FMI: www.vimy.org

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