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全球首次单人不间断环球飞行 美国富翁福塞特再创世界记录

来源:英语阅读 编辑:英语学习 时间:2016-11-09

Fossett makes history

Adventurer Steve Fossett climbs out of the cockpit on the runway at Salina, Kansas. The final figures are in for Fossett's epic solo flight around the world and the American aviator will make it into the record books with just miles to spare(AFP/Carl de Souza)

Flying from horizon to horizon, Steve Fossett completed the first nonstop, flight 'round-the-world without refueling on Thursday afternoon, landing gracefully in Kansas at 2:49 pm ET.

A cheering crowd gathered to usher the GlobalFlyer and its 60-year-old pilot into the record books, something that has become almost routine for Fossett in recent years. The aviator now holds three record-breaking circumnavigations of the globe, the two others by balloon and sailboat.

"It's something I've wanted to do for a long time," Fossett said as he stepped out of the plane, his legs wobbly after nearly three days in the cockpit. "It has been a major ambition of mine."

The sometimes tense journey across three oceans and dozens of countries began in Salina, Kansas, on Monday evening. The 25,000-mile (40,234 kilometer) voyage took 67 hours and two minutes. It was financed by Fossett's longtime friend and investor, Richard Branson, who heads Virgin Atlantic Airways.

As GlobalFlyer approached the airport, Fossett deployed small parachutes to slow the craft down.

After touching down smoothly, Fossett taxied the plane toward a hangar and Branson waved a black-and-white checkered flag as the jet came to a stop. Fossett's flight team opened a bottle of champagne onto the runway.

GlobalFlyer was built by Scaled Composites, the same firm that designed and launched the world's first civilian manned spacecraft, SpaceShipOne, last year.

Burt Rutan, aerospace engineer and head of Scaled Composites, said the plane, and the pilot, performed admirably.

Despite the successful homecoming, the GlobalFlyer encountered dark moments during its flight.

At one point, controllers thought the plane would run out of fuel far short of its target. Fossett and the GlobalFlyer team considered abandoning the trip when they were over Hawaii on Wednesday because the experimental plane came up about 2,600 pounds of fuel short after taking off. The jet burns 102 pounds of fuel per hour. The team speculated that fuel was vented from four tanks shortly after takeoff.

Fossett decided to press on because of favorable tail winds.

"If I have engine trouble, there will be no trouble with gliding," Fossett had said earlier in the day before landing.

When more data arrived from the aircraft, projections showed the fuel would propel the aircraft throughout its entire 25,000-mile trip.

这是一次从地平线开始,到地平线结束的飞行——本周四(3月3日)下午,美国富翁史蒂夫·福塞特在没有燃油补给的情况下,完成了世界上首次不间断环球飞行,并于美国东部时间下午2点49分风度翩翩地降落在堪萨斯州。

兴高采烈的人群聚集在“环球飞行者”号和这位60岁高龄的驾驶员身边,见证这一壮举载入世界记录。近年来,对福塞特来说,这几乎已是见惯不惊了。如今这位飞行家已经创造并保持了三项环球航行的世界记录,另外两项分别是驾驶热气球和帆船环球旅行。

福塞特一下飞机就说:“这是我长期以来一直想做的事。这是我的一大抱负。”由于将近三天时间一直呆在驾驶舱里,他的腿有点发抖,站立不稳。

周一(2月28日)晚上,这次时而紧张的旅行从堪萨斯州的萨利纳开始,穿越三大洋和十几个国家,用时67小时零2分,完成了2.5万英里(4.0234万公里)的路程。福塞特的老朋友、维珍大西洋航空公司董事长理查德·布兰森出资赞助了此次环球旅行。

“环球飞行者”号抵达机场时,福塞特用了小降落伞来延缓飞机降落的速度。

飞机平稳着陆后,福塞特将飞机缓慢滑行到飞机棚里。当飞机就要停下来时,布兰森挥舞着一面黑白方格的旗子向福塞特致意,而筹备福塞特之行的“飞之队”在跑道上打开一瓶香槟。

“环球飞行者”号是Scaled联合公司去年生产的,这家公司还设计开发了世界上第一艘民用载人飞船“太空飞船一号”。

航空工程师、Scaled联合公司总裁伯特·鲁坦说,飞机和飞行员的表现都极为出色,令人赞叹。

尽管“环球飞行者”号成功归航,但它在飞行途中也遭遇过黑暗的时刻。

(地面)控制者们曾一度认为飞机可能会在到达目的地之前出现燃料短缺问题。本周三,飞机飞至夏威夷上空时,福塞特和“飞之队”甚至考虑过放弃这次航行,因为这架实验飞机在起飞后突然出现了大约2600磅的燃油短缺,而这架飞机每小时要燃烧102磅燃料。据“飞之队”推测,飞机起飞后不久,四个油箱就发生了燃料泄露。

由于当时的顺风天气比较有利,福塞特决定克服困难加紧赶路。

福塞特在着陆前一天就说:“如果我遇到引擎故障,我也可以靠滑翔继续。”

当“飞之队”获得来自飞机的更多数据后,他们发现事实上所余燃料可以支持飞机完成2.5万英里的航行。

Vocabulary:

circumnavigation: 环航(世界)一周,周游世界

wobbly : tending to wobble; unsteady(颤抖的,不稳定的)

taxi: to cause an aircraft to move slowly before takeoff or after landing(使飞机在起飞前或降落后缓慢滑行)

vent: to release or discharge (steam, for example) through an opening(从开口排放,泄露)

press on: 加紧赶路,奋力前进,加紧进行

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