Around the world in 13 days

July 04, 2002

SPEAKING, as we were above, of the pursuit of happiness, Steve Fossett seems to have taken that national directive to new, ah, heights.

On Thursday, Mr. Fossett became the first person to circumnavigate the globe on a solo flight without a motor, and it seems absolutely fitting that he and his hot-air balloon, the Spirit of Freedom, should have accomplished that feat as America geared up to celebrate the anniversary of its Declaration of Independence.

Independent, indeed!

Of course, such pinnacles of derring-do are infinitely more reachable when one has the appellation "millionaire-adventurer" attached to one's name, as does Mr. Fossett. But that does not make them, in terms of sheer guts and hard-won skill, any easier.

This was Mr. Fossett's sixth trip in six years; all the others ended in failure, some more spectacularly than others. Clearly, this guy is no quitter.

Some party-poopers have quibbled that by mapping a 19,400-mile course that never took him out of the Southern Hemisphere, Mr. Fossett was somehow claiming the record on the cheap. But according to the rules set by the International Aeronautic Federation in Switzerland, the folks who keep track of such things, it counts. So we say congratulations -- and great timing.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.