Steve Fossett strikes again:
The 62-year-old Chicago investment mogul said he and Norwegian co-pilot Einar Enevoldson, 74, rode powerful rising air currents above the remote Patagonia region on Tuesday, reaching a record 50,699 feet.
If Fossett isn’t careful, he’s going to end up like Alexander the Great, standing on the edge of the aviation world and weeping because there are no more lands (records) to conquer.
I’ve reached as high as 13,000 feet in a glider — ironically, before I even received my glider add-on rating. In fact, as I recall, it was on my first solo flight in a glider. Eventually I came down because I thought my instructor would be worried. It’s hard to imagine being four times that high. At those altitudes, your blood will boil unless you’re wearing a pressure suit.
I love the fact that these two guys are 62 and 74 years old. They’re considered unfit to pilot an airliner by the FAA, owing simply to their age. Yet they’re up there, literally in the stratosphere, at twice the altitude of the airliners flying by below.
Let’s consider how this compares to the daily routine of your average 74 year old geezer. While Joe Average is sitting on his butt watching Matlock reruns, these two characters are contemplating the curvature of the earth and the blackness of space while they “collect meteorological data for a NASA and U.S. Navy study of the polar vortex”.
In a glider.
If I was wearing a hat, it’d be off to them.
I recall hearing a rumor of some Fossett-backed project that sought to reach 100,000 feet in a glider. Perhaps he won’t end up like Alexander the Great just yet…