Feb. 15, 2008
Millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett was declared legally dead by a Chicago Circuit Court on Friday, Feb. 15, 5 months after he disappeared while piloting a private plane in Nevada. Fossett's wife Peggy had petitioned the court for the declaration in order to clear legal issues involving his estate. The judge heard testimony from Peggy Fossett, a family friend and a search and rescue expert before finding there was sufficient evidence to make the declaration.
As part of her testimony Peggy Fossett said Steve had been on a pleasure flight when he disappeared and not, as first reported, searching for dry lake beds for an upcoming land speed record attempt. Steve Fossett was 63.
Feb. 8, 2008
Steve Fossett Dead at 63
James Stephen Fossett, dead at 63? The world famous adventurer who set
more than 100 world records has not been seen since he left the Nevada
ranch of friend Barron Hilton on September 3rd on a short flight to
spot potential dry lake beds to be used in his next record attempt - a
new land speed record. On Monday, November 26th, his wife Peggy
petitioned a court in Chicago as the first step in declaring him
legally dead saying, "after three months we must accept that Steve did
Born in Tennessee and raised in California, Fossett developed a
lifelong love of mountain climbing but it was on the sea and in the air
where his quest for adventure would eventually lead him. Among his
world records are five circumnavigations of the globe both on the sea
and in the air. One of his earliest accomplishments, and one that he
was equally proud of right along with those world records, was his
achievement of earning the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of
Fossett was best known in the ballooning world for having made the
first solo flight around the world by balloon. He succeeded only after
several earlier disappointments, one of which nearly cost him his life
when thunderstorms forced him to crash in the Pacific Ocean.
Fossett had retired in 1990 after a career as a commodities broker
where he made, lost and re-made his fortunes. In an interview with
BALLOONING Editor Glen Moyer in November 2006 Fossett acknowledged that
his solo flight around the world in a balloon was the one world record
and accomplishment that he was most proud of.
James Stephen Fossett, born April 22, 1944, died on or after September 3, 2007.
Oct 23, 2008
Fossett will not be next Amerlia Earhart
Despite the most intensive search effort in US aviation history,
millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett and his Decathlon remain missing
in northern Nevada... and his friend Sir Richard Branson is afraid the
aviator might be lost "forever."
But analysis of previous aircraft search efforts showed that Fossett is
not likely to become the next Amelia Earhart, the aviatrix who vanished
over the Pacific Ocean in 1937 and was never found. Research by the
Reno Gazette-Journal revealed only three other planes that have
disappeared in the area since 1949 remain undiscovered.
Fossett vanished on what was to be a short flight out of the Flying M
Ranch near Yerington, NV on September 3, as reported by ANN.
Nevada's rugged terrain has been the site of many crashes and scores of
searches since the 1950s, but most aircraft were eventually found
accidentally by hunters, hikers, or ranchers, in some cases years later.
Most remained missing less than one year, research by the Reno paper found.
"In a year or two, some hunter or hiker will stumble across something
in the ground and kick it, and it will be a piece of his plane," said
Maj. Cindy Ryan of the Nevada Wing of the Civil Air Patrol. "That's
very common. That's the way I figure this will end."
The search for Fossett by aircraft and ground teams covered 20,000
square miles of rugged terrain, and was the largest in the history of
the Civil Air Patrol.
CAP had 27 aircraft participating, in addition to 10 helicopters and
many private fixed-wing aircraft that flew out of Barron Hilton's
Flying M Ranch, the Nevada National Guard also had aircraft involved.
The search generated 7,500 calls to CAP headquarters from media and other interested parties, according to Ryan.
The Guard's aircraft cost came to just more than $1 million, she said,
with the state picking up 75 percent of the tab and the rest paid out
of federal training funds previously allocated to the Nevada Guard.
Google Earth, and high-tech imagery equipment and satellite photos were
used in the effort, which turned up no trace of Fossett's plane, owned
"I'm disappointed we didn't find him," Ryan said. "It wasn't for lack of resources or trying."
"There's been a lot of hype and misinformation that even the search
officials (were) passing on that Nevada and the West is a Bermuda
Triangle for missing aircraft," said John Lopez Jr. of Washington, a
retired Army major who has become an aviation historian. "That's not
A review of newspaper archives by the Gazette-Journal last month showed
15 to 20 missing aircraft searches for which no resolution could be
immediately found. But further research by the newspaper and Lopez
narrowed that number to three planes that have vanished without a trace.
One aircraft has been missing for 18 years, and two others for more than 40 years
REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM WWW.AERO-NEWS.NET
October 18, 2008
Fossett Search Turns from rescue to recovery
There is still no sign of missing millionaire aviator/adventurer Steve
Fossett despite an intense 2-week manhunt that has covered tens of
thousands of acres of Nevada. Fossett has been missing since September
3rd when he failed to return from a flight during which he hoped to
scout dry lake bed sites suitable for his next world record attempt - a
run at the world land speed record.
On Tuesday, September 18 the Civial Air Patrol announced it was
scaling back the search which at one time had almost half a hundred
aircraft in the skies. CAP officials said that in every search there
comes a point of diminishing returns. Two aircraft will remain in the
search area but the massive manhunt will not continue unless there is
some new lead developed. Oddly the search did turn up 7 previously
unknown crash sites but not a single sign of Fossett.
Rescuers were orginially in high spirits and often cited Fossett's
numerous world record experiences and his natural outdoor experience
with hiking, mountaineering and survival as odds working in his favor.
As the search has continued with no results that optimisim has waned
and the reality that Fossett may be lost forever cannot be denied.
Steve Fossett Missing: Search Continues
The search continues for missing adventurer Steve Fossett... and while there's little new information regarding the search, we are learning more about why the record-holding pilot was out flying Monday.The Associated Press reports Fossett took off from the Flying M Ranch Monday morning, to scout out dry lakebeds for his next record-attempt -- this one on land. Fossett was seeking places for an upcoming attempt to break the land speed record in a jet-powered car, said Paul Charles, a spokesman for Sir Richard Branson. There are reports Fossett may have been scouting locations near restricted airspace... which could mean Fossett's flight path may have been tracked, if only briefly, by military radar... potentially giving some clue as to where Fossett's plane may have disappeared. Fossett departed the private airfield Monday with approximately five hours of fuel onboard -- near the maximum for a Bellanca Super Decathlon.
1545 EDT: Civil Air Patrol officials tell CNN they're continuing the search for the Bellanca Super Decathlon piloted by billionaire adventurer Steve Fossett, that went missing shortly after takeoff from a private airstrip in Western Nevada Monday morning. CAP identified the plane as N240R, an 8KCAB-180 registered to the Flying M Hunting Club in Yerington, NV.
Fossett departed from the Flying M Ranch, about 30 miles south of Yerington, just before 0900 PDT Monday. Earlier reports stated Fossett took off Monday evening. The Decathlon is an aerobatic-capable aircraft, though Fossett -- who reportedly dislikes performing aerobatic maneuvers -- is not believed to have planned such maneuvers on his flight. He was not wearing a parachute, a requirement only when flying aerobatics with more than one person onboard. CAP crews have not detected a signal from the plane's ELT.
We have but the sketchiest of details to go on right now, but ANN has learned that a search is on for world-record holding pilot and adventurer, Steve Fossett. Fossett was reported as having departed Nevada's Hilton Ranch airport in a blue and white Super Decathlon, Monday night, and has not been seen since. Fossettt, 63, is now the subject of a growing CAP Search. Civil Air Patrol spokesperson, Maj. Cynthia S. Ryan said that three crews are in the air looking for Fossett’s blue and white aircraft and that more are on the way.
“We will be launching more shortly,” she said.
Local reports indicate the search area is a tough one... covering "hundreds of square miles of rugged terrain." CAP is currently canvassing local airports in the event that he had to put down there, but so far, no reports indicate any sightings.
Fossett is no stranger to the Nevada area. Less than two months ago, Fossett launched himself into the history books yet again... as he and fellow Glider Pilot Terry Delore added to their long list of successes by flying a 777 mile triangular course in Nevada in 8 hours and 23 minutes at a new world record average speed of 92.73 mph. This allowed Fossett and Delore to break one of the oldest world gliding records in the book -- "the last of the major glider records" set two decades ago by the legendary Hans Werner Grosse of Germany.
Fossett's web site noted that Grosse dominated glider world records for many years -- and at age 85 continues to fly high performance gliders. Grosse's 1250 kilometer record of 89.14 mph was flown from Alice Springs in the Australian outback on January 10, 1987.
Steve Fossett is probably one of the world's greatest record-breaking adventurers. He holds 116 records in five different sports, including balloons, jet airplanes and gliders, including records for US Transcontinental, Australia Transcontinental, and the fastest flight in a non-supersonic airplane at 742.02 mph, not to mention numerous world speed sailing records. Flying with co-pilot Terry Delore, Fossett set nine of the 21 Glider Open records.
Among Fossett's most notable achievements are the successful completion of a solo balloon trip around the world in July 2002 in the "Bud Light Spirit of Freedom." Fossett also set an Absolute Round the World Speed Record, a new record for the Fastest Speed by a Manned Balloon and a new 24 Hour Balloon Distance Record.
Fossett also became the first solo aircraft pilot to circumnavigate the globe without refueling in March 2005, in his Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer. Fossett completed that trip in 66 hours.
Fossett was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) at the 46th annual ceremony in July.
He was born on April 22, 1944 in California. In 1966, he earned a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from Washington University in 1968.