Tycoon Completes Global Balloon Trip

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

American adventurer Steve Fossett drifted into aviation history Tuesday, becoming the first person to fly a balloon solo around the world.

Flying through the darkness over the ocean south of Australia in his silvery Spirit of Freedom balloon, Fossett crossed east of 117 degrees longitude, the line from which he set off two weeks ago.

The 58-year-old Chicago investment millionaire covered an estimated 19,428.6 miles by the time he crossed the finish line, finally succeeding in his sixth attempt at the record.

This time around Fossett had plenty of fuel, no rogue nations to avoid and enough spare oxygen to keep the American adventurer on track.

With weather largely on his side throughout the trip, Fossett finally completed the nonstop feat after five previous, crash-plagued attempts spread over more than six years, conquering one of aviation's last barriers.

The voyage he began June 18 in western Australia took him exactly 13 days, 12 hours, 16 minutes and 13 seconds.


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