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Find Steve Fossett

The search and rescue operation that has been launch to find world adventurer Steve Fossett has taken an unprecedented high-tech turn.

Fossett – who went missing early last week after departing Yerington in a Bellanca Citabria Super Decathalon owned by the Flying M Hunting Club – has been the subject of an intense well-coordinated search according to his web site:

8 September 2007 - Multiple air and ground searches for aviator Steve Fossett, missing since Monday afternoon, continue today, with some two dozen aircraft and ground teams participating. The Civil Air Patrol are continuing to cover an expanded (10,000 square mile) search area based from Minden airport while intensive 'low and slow' helicopter operations continue closer to the Flying M Ranch, Steve's point of departure. Thermal-image detection equipped National Guard aircraft have been flying at night as well. Teams from the ad hoc 'Flying M air force' based at the ranch itself, cooperating closely with the Nevada Army and Air National Guards, are flying their mostly rotary wing aircraft as low as possible - in many cases within 30 feet of treetop level, in order to find the missing airman.
As the search continues in the scorched Nevada desert, it is now going full speed in cyberspace as well:
New satellite images are also enabling internet-based anaysis by individuals hoping to help. The project is an 'Amazon Mechanical Turk' based effort with recent images from GeoEye, supplier of many images to Google Earth. Please see the MTurk site for details on how individuals can help review specific search areas.
Those of you who think you know a bit about Steve Fossett because you followed his 67-hour flight around the world in GlobalFlyer without stopping for fuel, well, you may not know him at all:
– He has set 93 aviation world records ratified by Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, plus 23 sailing world records ratified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council.

– In 2002, he became the first person to fly around the world alone, nonstop, in a balloon. He launched the 10-story high balloon Spirit of Freedom on June 19, 2002 and returned to Australia on July 3, 2002. Duration and distance of this solo balloon flight was 13 days, 8 hours, 33 minutes.

– Steve Fossett has been one of the world's most accomplished sailors. Speed sailing is Fossett's speciality and from 1993 to 2004, he dominated the record sheets, setting 23 official world records and nine distance race records.

– Fossett set the Absolute World Speed Record for airships on October 27, 2004. The new record for fastest flight was accomplished with a Zeppelin NT, at a recorded average speed of 62.2 knots.

– Fossett has competed in the 1,165 mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, in which he finished 47th on his second try in 1992.

– He also swam the English Channel on his fourth try in September 1985 with a time of 22 hours, 15 minutes.

– Fossett has run in the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii, the Boston Marathon, and the Leadville Trail 100, a 100-mile Colorado ultramarathon which involves running up elevations of more than 14,000 feet in the Rocky Mountains.

– He competed in the 24 hours of Le Mans road race in 1996, along with the Paris to Dakar Auto Rally.

– Fossett is a lifelong mountain climber and has climbed the highest peaks on six of the seven continents.
Whew. I get tired just writing this list, and was literally blown away when I researched Steve for this post...I had no idea he was this accomplished. I also have no idea how his family must be feeling right now, because unless you live through the tragedy of having a loved one go missing for any reason (I have not), there is no way for anyone to feel their pain.

I wish the searchers – both in the desert and online – Godspeed, and hope they find Steve soon. The sobering fact that there has been no ELT signal transmitted from the Decathalon or his Breitling watch is unnerving.

And to the Fossett family, I wish you strength and courage.

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