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屡败屡战痴心不改,美国冒险家福塞特开始第6次乘热气球环球之旅

来源:英语阅读 编辑:英语学习 时间:2016-11-11

Adventurer Fossett launches solo balloon trip (2001/08/08)

US adventurer Steve Fossett on Sunday launched his balloon from the western Australian desert in another attempt to become the first to fly a balloon solo around the world.

US millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett's balloon is inflated by his ground-crew under a full moon in the township of Northam, located 100 kilometres east of Perth in western Australia, August 5, 2001. Fossett is near lifting off for his sixth attempt to complete the first solo circumnavigation of the Earth. [Reuters]

The giant high-altitude balloon, bathed in the desert's golden morning light, drifted slowly into the sky above Northam, a small mining town 100 km (62 miles) east of Perth, just after 7.00 a.m. (2300 GMT).

Fossett had delayed inflating the aircraft for six and a half hours due to unfavourable winds, but with time running out before the arrival of the morning's hot thermals, he gave the order to fill the balloon with helium for a dawn launch.

Fossett waved to around 100 townsfolk as he entered the capsule for an eastward circumnavigation that he expects will take 15 days.

"I am a bit nervous about the first night," Fossett said before take-off.

"On the first night I will find out if everything works, if there are any leaks in the balloon, if there are any failures in communications and if the all-important heating works," he said.

The millionaire former stockbroker has made a series of failed attempts to fly solo in a balloon around the world.

The last attempt to inflate the giant balloon for a launch on June 17 from the Australian gold mining town of Kalgoorlie ended in disaster when a freak wind tore it apart.

Fossett's fourth solo bid ended in near disaster in 1998, when a thunderstorm off Australia's northeastern coast shredded his canopy and sent him plummeting 29,000 feet (9,000 metres) into the Coral Sea. He was unhurt.

This year Fossett, 57, decided to launch in western Australia, some 600 km (400 miles) from the Indian Ocean, to have a better chance of avoiding thunderstorms in the South Pacific and gain time to detect problems while still over land.

 

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