Friday, February 10, 2006

Close to Ditching

The latest news from the GlobalExplorer “Mission Control” for those of you who are following the flight that should end at Manston on Saturday night.

Since the last update it has become clear that the situation during the severe turbulence over Bhopal, India was a lot worse than first feared. At one stage Steve believe the flight was over and put on his parachute in readiness for an emergency ditching. Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer feels turbulence at 4 times the rate of a commercial aircraft. Steve feared that the aircraft was getting close to breaking up mid-air and the only choice left open to him was to eject. Luckily conditions stabilized although Steve was very shaken by the experience.

Mission Control has confirmed that Steve has sufficient fuel to cross the Pacific – the longest time flying over water during the attempt – a gruelling 16 hours of flight. Steve is experiencing the best tail winds of the journey across the Pacific, flying at 409mph, the fastest speeds yet of the journey and due to the fuel loss at take-off, much needed.

However, this will soon change shortly after Hawaii, when the jet streams fall away. The team are evaluating whether it will be best for Steve to continue on a direct route towards Florida, or to take a more southerly route via Mexico, which is longer, but allows Steve to take advantage of the tailwinds.

Commenting on Steve’s progress, Mission Control Director Kevin Stass said:

“After enduring extreme temperatures in the cockpit and severe turbulence over Bhopal in India - so severe that Steve was forced to put on his parachute in readiness for ditching - Steve has been able to enjoy the last few hours, he is taking advantage of the best tailwinds of the entire voyage as he travels over the Pacific Ocean. As Steve travels towards the coast of the US, the jet streams alter dramatically and we are presently analysing routes to determine the best option on which to approach Florida.”

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is becoming an exciting tale of 'derring-do' that matches Lindbergh and the early aviators. Best wishes to Steve and his team and hope to see them make Manston.

Nethercourt said...

Admire the whole exploit! But he'd better make this good, 'cos if the fuel is that tight he's gonna be in deep **** when he passes over our house. I'm goin' out front with a cricket bat!!!

Good Luck to 'im!

Eastcliff Richard said...

For a millionaire adventurer he's not got much of a sense of direction. He's just landed in Bournemouth.

James Maskell said...

I heard he had a fuel leak and it was very iffy as to if he could land at Manston. Hes broken records which is good news.

Anonymous said...

Went up to Manston at 4pm though of course by 5pm we knew Steve had landed in Bournemouth. However, I have just watched a good arrival at Manston where both Steve and Sir Dick turned up in an executive jet so still plenty of high profile news for Manston.