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Fossett Commits To Final Dash To Kansas

Salina (AFP) Mar 03, 2005
American adventurer Steve Fossett has decided to continue his historic bid for the first solo non-refuelled flight around the world despite loss of fuel, project managers announced late on Wednesday.

"Let's go for it," Fossett told Mission Control via satellite radio as his plane cruised north of Hawaii.

Project manager Paul Moore told reporters that the goal of the first solo non-stop, non-refuelled circumnavigation of the globe was "within Steve's grasp," despite the fact that the plane had leaked fuel.

The mission was called into question earlier on Wednesday, when it was discovered the plane had 1 181kg less fuel than expected.

While the cause of the loss has not been determined, organisers said it was possible that the fuel evaporated or escaped. More fuel than expected may have been used during takeoff.

The plane had never before been flown with full tanks and some fuel may have spilled out through a venting system used to maintain adequate pressure in the tanks, organisers said. A leak is unlikely as the fuel loss ceased after the first few hours of flight.

Organisers are hopeful that Fossett will be able to make it back to Salina on Thursday if tailwinds remain strong.

All rights reserved. � 2004 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.

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