Working at the space center can have its advantages. I was lucky enough to score a pass to view the GlobalFlyer II takeoff, scheduled for tomorrow morning at first light. If you are not familiar with the GlobalFlyer II, it is an aircraft built to try to fly farther than any other aircraft ever has, non stop. From the website, virginatlanticglobalflyer.com:
..NASA’s Kennedy Space Center will be the launch site for “The Ultimate Flight,” which will see Steve Fossett pilot the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer aircraft in order to set the record for the longest flight of all time. Steve Fossett – aviation’s most prolific record breaker – will fly over 700 miles further than any aircraft or balloon has flown…
I am pretty excited to get go to the big event and will definitely be bringing my camera. Hopefully I will get a few good shots to post tomorrow.
Some interesting facts about the GlobalFlyer II:
- Steve Fossett, the pilot, is planning to fly the plane 26,084 miles in about 80 hours.
- Fully loaded, the Global Flyer II carries more than 18,000 pounds of fuel and the aircraft is 83% fuel by weight.
- The GlobalFlyer II is powered by a single slightly modified Citation Jet 2 engine (which I actually used to work on when I was an aircraft mechanic).
- The aircraft is equipped with two autopilots to allow the pilot some limited sleep periods and to take human error out of the planned route.