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Last Updated: Saturday February 16 2008 13:32 GMT

Who was Steve Fossett?

Steve Fossett

American adventurer Steve Fossett has been declared dead, five months after he went missing while flying a plane.

Steve Fossett was born in 1944 and - after making loads of money in business - started setting world records.

By September 2007, he'd set 116 records in five different sports - more than 60 of which remained unbroken.

In the air

Perhaps the most famous of these was in 2002, when he became the first person to travel around the world in an hot air balloon on his own - taking 13 days 8 hours 33 minutes to complete the flight.
Steve Fossett's record-breaking balloon
Steve Fossett's record-breaking balloon

It was a record he had tried to claim five times before finally succeeding, and some of his failures were very dramatic.

In 2005 Fossett once again flew around the world, using a plane this time.

Longest flight

He became the first person to complete the trip without stopping and without needing to refuel - taking just under three days (67 hours) to complete the trip.

A year later, he set another flying record - staying in the air for 76 hours, 45 minutes without refueling or stopping, and covering 26,389 miles (42,469 km) which was the longest flight by any aircraft ever.


Fossett didn't just target hi-tech records though.
Vickers Vimy bi-plane
Vickers Vimy bi-plane

In 2005, he and co-pilot Mark Rebholz re-created the first non-stop crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.

They used a bi-plane called a Vickers Vimy, powered by two propeller engines, and took more than 18 hours to get from Newfoundland in Canada to Clifden in Ireland.

On the water

Although in recent years Fossett was better known as someone who sets records in the air, he has also set a lot on water too.
Steve Fossett aboard his ship Cheyenne
Steve Fossett aboard his ship Cheyenne

Between 1993 and 2004 Fossett set 23 official world records in sailing (including 2 single-handed records), 11 of which still stand.


In 2001, he captained a crew that sailed from America to the UK in four days, 17 hours - crossing the ocean almost two days quicker than the previous record.

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