Mission Control have released a statement this morning regarding a loss of fuel in the early hours of Steve Fossett’s flight, which could lead to the attempt being abandoned.
There was a discrepancy of 2,600 pounds in readings between the fuel burn and a series of probes in the main beams of the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer in the first three and a half hours of the flight.
During last night, Mission Control carried out various tests, but still know little as to why and how the problem occurred. Early flight fuel readings have been concluded to be “not accurate”, and the lower reading of the amount of fuel onboard is the one that has been taken into account by the team for safety reasons.
Jon Karkow from Scaled Composites was unable to say whether it was due to leakage or evaporation. “We really don’t know what it is… It’s more than likely a system issue, such as a fuel venting line. It’s been very puzzling for us, and we saw it quite early on.”
Umm, if it was seen THAT early-on, why not just do an abort back home and try again? As I write this he’s just left Japanese airspace and will make a decision halfway to Hawaii about continuation.
His plane has an enormous wingspan, and it’ll probably glide for quite a while, but it’s a long way home from where he is.