Thursday, September 6, 2007
El Calafate, Argentian - Flying a DG505M sailplane on August 29th, 2006 Steve Fossett and Einar Enevoldson set a new world glider altitude record of 50,671 feet soaring in a Andean mountain wave. The Perlan Project is conducting research on statospheric mountain waves, the goal is to fly a sailplane to 62,000 feet using stratospheric mountain waves.
It's been four days since Steve Fossett was reported missing (9/03/2007). A squadron of 10 planes and helicopters has been looking for Steve since Monday. An Emergency Locater Beacon Transmitter (ELT) was installed on the aircraft he was flying and Fossett was wearing a Breitling Emergency wrist watch that has its own built in ELT. The Breitling Emergency watch is a great idea in theory but it does have it's drawbacks. The watch has only a low-powered, 30 milliwatts, VHF transmitter with a battery life of about 48 hours, it sends a 121.5 MHz homing signal, but it DOES NOT send a digital satellite acquisition signal (406 MHz). I hope they find Steve Fossett alive and soon, however don't be surprised to see Steve Fossett walking out of the desert on his own.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
At 8:45 am, Monday, September 3, 2007, Steve Fossett took off alone in a Bellanca Super Decathlon single-engine airplane (N240R registered to the Flying M Hunting Club, Inc.) from an airstrip located near Smith Valley NV(the Flying-M Ranch is owned by Barron Hilton).
A Bellanca Super Decathlon, with full tanks can fly for about five hours. When Fossett failed to return a search was started at 6 pm. Fossett did not file a VFR flight plan, which is not improper since the flight was only to be to survey flight looking for a suitable lake bed to use in a upcoming land speed record attempt.
Steve Fossett has set world records in sailplanes, powered aircraft, balloons and sailboats. Fossett has also climbed the highest peaks on six continents, set cross-country skiing records, swam the English Channel and raced in the 24 hours of Le Mans road race.