This evening I drove the 18:45 Megabus from Winchester to Bournemouth, after Ringwood I take the A338 to Bournemouth. The A338 passes the east end of the single Bournemouth Airport runway where the approach lights are only yards away from the road. As I passed the approach lights my thoughts immediately went to Steve Fossett who is missing in the US. It was over this road, with his eyes on these very lights, that Steve Fossett flew GlobalFlyer for his last few seconds of flight before touchdown. He’d been airborne and flying solo for 76 hours and 45 minutes during which time he’d covered 26,389.3 miles (42,222.88 km.) for yet another World Record. That was at 17:07 on Saturday, February 11th, 2006.
But it’s for his ballooning that Steve is one of my all time greatest heroes. He just wouldn’t give up on trying to be the first to do a non-stop Round the World flight. Brian Jones and Bertrand Piccard beat him to it in 1999 but still Steve stuck at it and in 2002 he achieved a non-stop Round the World SOLO!
I’ve met Steve once, only briefly, at the Cameron balloon factory in Bath. I hope he’s safe and well.