Steve Fossett donated his Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer to the National Air and Space Museum. On March 3, 2005, after 67 hours aboard the craft, he became the first person to fly alone around the world nonstop. He spoke with our Katy June-Friesen.
From This Story
You've raced through air, water, snow and ice. How do these mediums compare?
Almost all of my endeavors are related to weather, so I can move easily from sport to sport because so much of what I'm doing is dependent on the wind. And over time I've worked with meteorologists and I understand what they're saying.
What got you interested in endurance sports and record-breaking?
Endurance sports are not dependent upon coordination or skill. Instead, it's something that just about anyone can do…with proper planning and training. So I've thrived on endurance sports because all I have to do is make up my mind to do it.
The Global Flyer website had more than 80 million hits the day you landed. Why do you think your adventures are so intriguing to the public?
My flights harken back to an earlier age of aviation when the public was very excited about what was going on--in the 20s and the 30s when major records were being set. I think that's why it has attracted the interest of so many people who want to share the excitement of this adventure.
Have there not been many changes in aviation recently?
Aviation is developing, but in a very subtle way to be more economically efficient, which isn't very dramatic and not exciting for the public as observers. Most of the firsts in aviation were done in the first half of the 20th century. The speed and altitude achievements were done in the 60s and 70s. They are not building airplanes to go as fast or as high anymore, and that's disappointing to those of us who look to aviation for excitement. So I'm involved in the adventures that used to take place.
Recently you've been flying a glider. What new projects are you working on?