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Steve Fossett gone missing.
September 4, 2007 6:07 PM   Subscribe

Steve Fossett has gone missing in Nevada. Fossett has broken many aviation records, including being the first person to fly solo around the world in a balloon and the first nonstop, solo airplane flight around the world. A list of all of his aviation records. He went missing during a recreational flight.
posted by backseatpilot (36 comments total)

 
Which reminds me, does anyone know if there have been any further developments in the search for Jim Gray?
posted by Poolio at 6:12 PM on September 4, 2007


Eponysterical?
posted by Aloysius Bear at 6:12 PM on September 4, 2007


Maybe a little. It's my thing.

I find this story interesting for a couple reasons. First, Fossett's known to be a very safe and careful pilot. Second, it just incredibly ironic that have an incident like this happen on a leisure flight in a relatively benign aircraft, rather than, say, in a balloon over the Atlantic.
posted by backseatpilot at 6:18 PM on September 4, 2007


it just incredibly ironic that have an incident like this happen on a leisure flight in a relatively benign aircraft, rather than, say, in a balloon over the Atlantic.

Or, for example, going for the land speed record on a dry lakebed at the age of 63 with a rocket engine strapped to one's ass?

Also, are there really undiscovered dry lakebeds in Nevada waiting to be found?
posted by longsleeves at 6:31 PM on September 4, 2007


It's gov't land. And pretty worthless to everyone else, since it floods and is salty.
posted by smackfu at 6:38 PM on September 4, 2007


First, Fossett's known to be a very safe and careful pilot.

Who apparently didn't file a flight plan, or request radar following, and apparently got into some sort of trouble that he didn't even have time to send a mayday.

He may have been a safe, careful pilot before, but he screwed up this time. There's a reason that hiking trails have those little cards. Every night, the rangers look at them, and read that box that says "I'll be back by sundown." -- and when you aren't, they start the rescue.

If he had a 400 mile range -- and the article mentions that he was goosed with fuel -- you're looking at over 500,000 square miles to search.

Indeed, if you want a conspiracy theory -- if a competent pilot wants to just disappear, they'd do it just like this -- no flight plane, strictly VFR, lots and lots of fuel.
posted by eriko at 6:48 PM on September 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Honestly, I don't know many pilots that file a flight plan for every flight. If you're going out on a joyride with no specific destination (other than returning home), people generally don't file. The system's not set up very well to accommodate that kind of flight, anyway.

This does give me a good idea of what to do when the feds finally come after me, though.
posted by backseatpilot at 6:55 PM on September 4, 2007


Flying your hot air balloon over Area 51 is obviously not a bad idea. It's just not fast enough to make a decent getaway when the aliens/government/government-trained aliens decide they're gonna ground your ass.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:14 PM on September 4, 2007


Ugh. Not a good idea. Obviously.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:15 PM on September 4, 2007


Once you get that rich you can do pretty much whatever I suppose, but I always wondered what good he could have done with all the money he pissed away buying himself spots in history.

Not a hero to me. Just a really rich guy with a really big ego.
posted by timsteil at 8:13 PM on September 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


He could have bought a fighter jet to send to Iraq!
posted by smackfu at 8:40 PM on September 4, 2007


or built a few dozen cliinics...or schools
posted by timsteil at 9:00 PM on September 4, 2007


He didn't bring a radio or sat-phone with him. That doesn't seem like something a careful pilot would do.

I hope he's found alive and well.
posted by letitrain at 9:16 PM on September 4, 2007


citabria very sturdy, robust little plane.
posted by hortense at 10:14 PM on September 4, 2007


Every single pilot I know doesn't have a satellite phone. We fly in western Pennsylvania, but still. (In fact, every single person I know doesn't have a satellite phone, for what that's worth.) A radio to dial 121.5 may indeed have been useful.

VFR traffic advisories are useful provided certain circumstances are met: (1) the plane has a radio (a Citabria is just the kind of plane that might not), (2) the plane has a transponder (again), (3) the plane is somewhere within ____ Center (i.e. ATC) radio coverage (4) the plane is somewhere within ____ Center radar coverage. In a small plane from Mr. Hilton's desert ranch I could see all four requirements going unmet. I admit everyone is rich. Maybe the thing had a Garmin 430 inside.

Flight plans are rather geared toward A to B flights---c.f. the "DEPARTURE POINT", "ROUTE OF FLIGHT", and "DESTINATION" boxes on the form. I suppose you could list the ranch as departure pt. and destination, then in the route box or "REMARKS" specify a portion of airspace (w/ coordinates, VOR radials, etc) where you'll be, but for that you have two options. Figure out how to mash the info into DUATS, or use the New and Improved Lockheed Martin You May Only Have To Be On Hold for 45 Minutes flight briefers.

I guess my point is pretty much the same as backseatpilot's; filing or traffic advisories would have been unusual for a flight of this type and perhaps not especially useful anyway.
posted by tss at 10:38 PM on September 4, 2007


There's some speculation that he may also have been raped.
posted by Flashman at 2:28 AM on September 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


I hope he's found alive and well.

I hope he has a harrowing near death experience but lives, realizes what a waste his life has been parading his risk-free adventure guy crap to all the media outlets every six months, and dedicates himself to a more noble cause.
posted by poppo at 3:46 AM on September 5, 2007


Aye, I just said to a friend this morning that- although I don't actively wish Fossett any harm- I just don't care what happens to him.

These plutocrats with their monstrous egos and their globe-spanning dick-measuring extravaganzas don't need to be celebrated as heroes 'who pushed the boundaries for all of us'. They are generally dicks who have thought of nothing better to do with their great wealth than generate further self-aggrandizement.

In the US it tends to be self-made billionaires, or some such who for whatever reason, engage in pointless tasks that only seem to exist to glorify themselves. They don't do it for us, or for humanity, they do it for themselves.

However, the US is lucky in that it is at least self-made fucktrons that indulge in this behaviour. In the UK, we have to put up with ridiculous ex-public school boys with names like Bear Grylls and Ranulph Fiennes indulging in such cock-knockery and then putting up with their interminable book tours and their corporate speaking circuit gigs.

Either way, I don't mind that they choose to do it (many people have oddball hobbies/interests) I just resent the fact that it was the third item on the Radio 4 news this morning as if it's some major news story when it's not.

My preferred headline would be 'SELF-SERVING, VAIN RICH GUY MISSING IN PLANE CRASH- No one too bothered'
posted by ClanvidHorse at 4:17 AM on September 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Since he 'has gone missing' (and 'went missing'), is it possible that he'll 'come found'?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:22 AM on September 5, 2007


I hope he vanishes without a trace. Also, I hope he left billions of dollars to leprous orphans and/or me. And, of course, I hope his USAF-bullet-riddled aircraft is found to contain the USAF-bullet-riddled but still warm body of Amelia Earhart.
posted by Reggie Digest at 5:19 AM on September 5, 2007


Since he 'has gone missing' (and 'went missing'), is it possible that he'll 'come found'?

Paging 14267...
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:30 AM on September 5, 2007


It's interesting how some people have such a visceral negative reaction to him. Very revealing.
posted by smackfu at 5:32 AM on September 5, 2007


I wonder how many of the people whining about his globe trotting adventures actually put their money where their mouth is. Lots of people make due on minimum wage jobs, how many of you donate everything above minimum wage to a women's shelter, aid to Africa or any other cause?

I've always felt that adventure was something uniquely human. It's a trait that's counterproductive to pure Darwinian evolution, at least at first glance. It's humanity extending it's middle finger towards natural selection, God and common sense. A very small percentage of people are born with this drive, the Imp of the Perverse.

I haven't heard of animals leaving a bountiful area to strike out in search of adventure. They may migrate, but it's usually driven by a change in seasons which will deplete their environment. Their normal territorial range might expand as the climate changes, as areas become either more or less hospitable, but I've never heard of an animal just go off exploring.
posted by substrate at 6:11 AM on September 5, 2007 [3 favorites]


In the UK, we have to put up with ridiculous ex-public school boys with names like Bear Grylls and Ranulph Fiennes indulging in such cock-knockery

I don't know the Fiennes guy, but why the hate on Bear? He's done some impressive stuff in his life.
posted by inigo2 at 6:34 AM on September 5, 2007


I don't know the Fiennes guy, but why the hate on Bear? He's done some impressive stuff in his life.

Aye, a true survivor is our Bear. It must be hard munching through the blueberry pancakes while surfing on the free wi fi.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 6:41 AM on September 5, 2007


Ranulph Fiennes puts everyone else mentioned in this thread to shame.
posted by smackfu at 6:45 AM on September 5, 2007


It's interesting how some people have such a visceral negative reaction to him. Very revealing.

It's also interesting how some people make observations about other people yet won't state their conclusions outright and instead leave the reader to draw for themselves what was smarmily implied.
posted by poppo at 7:01 AM on September 5, 2007


People who complain about other people's indulgences are insecure about their own. Is that more clear?
posted by smackfu at 7:07 AM on September 5, 2007


Sorry, they could also just be jealous. Meant to put that in there.
posted by smackfu at 7:08 AM on September 5, 2007


Have they ruled out terrorism yet?
posted by Floydd at 7:10 AM on September 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thanks, that is better. Now go fly a kite. No, go fly a balloon. No, take your hot air and blow a balloon up and fly in it.
posted by poppo at 7:21 AM on September 5, 2007


Comparing Steve Fossett with Ranulph Fiennes? Not cool, ClanvidHorse. He cut off his own dying fingers with a hacksaw after being frostbitten on the way to the North Pole, he discovered a lost city in Oman, and after a heart attack and a triple bypass, he ran seven marathons in seven days on seven continents.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 7:32 AM on September 5, 2007


Continuing the hating on Grylls, while I don't dislike the guy per se, or have anything against what he's trying to do, he presents a show where he says 'I'll show you how to survive...' and then proceeds to show us things you should simply never do in a survival situation.
He's dangerous, because he's not presenting it as 'look, I'm insane, I'm going to do the things you shouldn't to look impressive...'.

Feh.
posted by opsin at 8:01 AM on September 5, 2007


All I need to know about this fellow is he didn't file a flight plan. Yes, I know people sometimes don't on these kind of flights.

Doesn't matter.
posted by konolia at 10:26 AM on September 5, 2007


Ranulph Fiennes is hard-core, in addition to everything else that he's done, he's used his expeditions to raise money for charity.
posted by quin at 12:42 PM on September 5, 2007


Konolia: Not only would most pilots not file a flight plan on this kind of flight, flight plans themselves are not designed for these sorts of flights, and the system that registers flight plans has, in the last twelve months, become markedly worse at taking and keeping flight plans even when they are required.

Filing a flight plan in this situation would be a bit like registering yourself with the rangers at Shenandoah when you only plan to drive along Skyline Drive and maybe pop out for a two-mile day hike.

Flying involves some amount of risk. That Fossett didn't file for this flight says very little about whether he was a responsible pilot. Sometimes things happen.
posted by tss at 3:22 PM on September 5, 2007


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