Saturday, March 05, 2005

No Blind Flight

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From Wikipedia's in the news: " The Scaled Composites Model 311 Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer is an aircraft designed by Burt Rutan that Steve Fossett flew in a non-stop solo trip around the world from February 28, 2005 until March 3, 2005. The feat matched the distance set by the previous Rutan-designed Voyager aircraft. The attempt was described as "the last great aviation record attempt" (first solo, first jet-propelled, non-stop unrefuelled circumnavigation). The aircraft was financed by Richard Branson's airline, Virgin Atlantic, and built by Burt Rutan's company, Scaled Composites."

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There's more to the story, of course. Before Steve Fossett left, Sir Richard Branson loaned Steve his Breitling "Emergency" watch; a special watch used by pilots and adventurers to alert international search & rescue teams in the event of an emergency. Thankfully Steve didn't need to actually use the watch because he managed to land safely in Salina, Kansas. After getting his watch safely back, Branson kindly agreed to donate it for auction in aid of charity ORBIS.

ORBIS is an international charity who fly specially equipped aircraft with fully functional eye hospitals on board into third world countries, where they perform sight-saving operations. The entire sale price will go to ORBIS. In case anyone's interested in bidding, the auction is scheduled to end on March 14. That's less than ten days away for a piece of aviation history and a great opportunity to help fight children's blindness worldwide.

For more details on the project and ORBIS, visit www.globalflyer.com

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