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Last Updated: Monday February 13 2006 18:42 GMT

I met a world record breaker!

Jess at Kent International Airport
Jess at Kent International Airport
Steve Fossett broke the world record on Saturday for the World's longest ever flight.

Press Packer Jess was there as the unexpected events unfolded.

"Because I'm an air cadet I was even more excited to hear that Steve Fossett would be completing his around the world flight at the airport right next to where we train.

We do exercises in the air and I've even taken the controls of a plane for a short time!

World record attempt

Fossett took off in the Global Flyer last Wednesday, from Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral in the USA.

He was attempting to fly 40,978 km all on his own, meaning that he can't sleep for more than a few minutes at a time.

The current world record is held by the Breitling Orbiter balloon, which traveled 40,814km in 1999.

We were all hoping it would be beaten by Fossett.

The waiting game

All the media were waiting in Kent for news of his landing when an announcement came that he would actually be landing in Bournemouth!

Last minute problems

In the last half an hour of his flight he had mechanical difficulties as the generator of his plane cut out.

This meant he only had the power in his battery to fly on, which would last only about 15 minutes more.

Also, his windscreen was entirely frozen up so that he couldn't really see out of it.

Normally a pilot would have to fly around at a low altitude to clear the frost before landing, but Steve didn't have time.

He decided to land at Bournemouth as it was closest, blowing two tyres on landing.

Final leg of the journey

His Global Flyer plane had to be dragged off the run way.

Steve was given a lift in a plane from Bournemouth to meet all the media waiting for him in Kent.

At the press conference Steve told us all about the journey. He said that take off was dangerous because of the amount of fuel he was carrying for his very long trip.

The turbulence over India nearly caused the plane to break apart.

And the landing was the last straw, meaning he had to send a mayday signal in the last half hour of the flight.

Exhausted

I got the chance to interview him about his journey. He looked exhausted after no sleep for four days, and having lived off smoothies the whole time.

Steve landed with himself AND the world record intact, even if his plane wasn't!"

Jess, 15, Kent


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