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.