Fossett, Steve (James Stephen Fossett), 1944–2007, American investment banker and adventurer, b. California. After becoming a multimillionaire as a stockbroker and investment consultant, he began a second career as a sports adventurer. He swam the English Channel in 1985 and set many aviation and sailing records but is best known for his long-distance solo aviation triumphs. In 1995 he made the first solo balloon flight across the Pacific, and although he tried and failed to be part of the first crew to circumnavigate the world nonstop in a balloon, he became the first person to do so solo in 2002 (after five unsuccessful attempts). Fossett also was the first person to fly solo around the world nonstop (Mar. 1–3, 2005), in the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer, a jet plane designed by Bert Rutan. He set a record for the longest nonstop flight the following year (Feb. 8–11), flying 26,389.3 mi (42,469.5 km) in the GlobalFlyer. Fossett disappeared in Sept., 2007, while flying a private plane in Nevada; his plane and remains were found a year later.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Aviation: Biographies