Steve Fossett is a chicago businessman who has used his many millions to become one of the world's great adventurers.

He is one of the world's best speed sailors. He holds the 7 fastest official world records and 13 of the 22 outright world records in sailing as certified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council. He has swum the English Channel, competed in Alaska's Iditarod Dogsled Race, driven the 24 Hours of Le Mans and finished the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii.

In the most recent years Fossett has attempted several times to become the first person to make a solo balloon flight around the world. He set the longest duration solo flight record (12 days, 12 hours, 57 minutes) when he flew from Northam, Australia, to Bage, Brazil in August 2001. He was heading for a finish in Argentina in August 1998 when he ran into a hailstorm that destroyed his balloon causing him to fall 29,000 feet into the Coral Sea 500 miles east of Australia. He survived, and in the process set the world distance record for balloons at 14,235.33 miles.

In his latest attempt (June, 2002), Fossett launched from Northam, Western Australia. His capsule is 7 feet long, 5 feet 6 inches inches wide and 5 feet 6 inches high, and is constructed of a lightweight composite of kevlar and carbon. His balloon is a helium and hot air combination, known as a Roziére. The balloon envelope contains 550,000 cubic feet of helium, and 100,000 cubic feet of hot air. The balloon envelope is 140 feet tall and 60 feet wide. Fossett's mission control is at Washington University in St. Louis.

This flight is sponsored by Bud Light, so his balloon has been renamed Bud Light Spirit of Freedom.


As of Tuesday, July 2, 2002, Fossett has successfully circumnavigated the world on his latest attempt, and will put down in Australia on July 3.

Steve Fossett was declared legally dead last February when his plane crashed. However, he may still be alive in a wooded area in Nevada. A team of ten elite athletes and expert mountaineers have resumed a search for him.


At age 63, Fossett is remembered as one of the greatest adventurers of all time. He’s a multi-millionaire, an air-balloon world circumventor, a sailor, an aviator, and a mountain climber. He started early in life, achieving the highest rank in boy scouts at age thirteen, eagle scout. Fossett had an MBA from Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Record Breaker

Since his 2002 feats, he has again set records. “Fossett made the first solo nonstop and unrefueled circumnavigation of the world in 67 hours in the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer, a single engine jet aircraft.” (Wikipedia) He also set a record for longest flight, at 76 hours, 45 minutes. In total he has 93 aviation world records ratified by Fédération Aéronautique Internationale and 23 world records ratified by World Sailing Speed Record Council. He also has glider records and air balloon records.

Search and Rescue

Judge Jeffrey A. Malak of the Circuit Court of Cook County declared Steve Fossett legally dead on February 15, 2008. He took off on a solo flight on September 3, 2007, and crashed in Nevada near the California border. The latest team is searching the Wassuk Range of mountains. Hopes to find him alive still exist today because he has survived so many other feats, including fires and mechanical failures. The new search team hopes to at least find wreckage, but if they don’t, they at least give the next team one spot less to check.


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