Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Air Force experts pick up what could be Fossett's track

Relying on new leads from Air Force experts, crews looking for famed aviator Steve Fossett plan to comb a rugged area near Death Valley by air and foot, authorities said Tuesday.

Gary Derks, the state Department of Public Safety official in charge of the search, said the Air Force analyzed images picked up by radar and satellite and "picked up what could be Mr. Fossett, his track."

"It gives us an idea, if it's him, what direction he was going," Derks said of the wealthy adventurer, missing for more than three weeks.

Derks said the area stretches about 100 miles to the southeast from where Fossett took off September 3, an airstrip on a million-acre ranch owned by hotel mogul Barron Hilton. Maps show the area would include Nevada's remote Silver Peak Range, close to Death Valley National Park in California.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Rescuers scale back search for Fossett

Rescuers called off their active air search for Steve Fossett on Wednesday, but insisted they had not given up hope and would keep crews on standby to fly to sites where the U.S. adventurer's airplane may have crashed.

Chuck Allen of the Nevada Department of Public Safety told Reuters that authorities continue to consider the hunt for Fossett a "search and rescue" mission, and that they are hopeful he is alive, but that the hunt would be scaled back.

In the most extensive search ever mounted in the western U.S. state of Nevada, air crews have found no sign of Fossett, the first person to pilot a balloon solo around the world in 2002.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hunt for Steve Fossett nears second week

Like Amelia Earhart's disappearance over the Pacific Ocean 70 years ago, the riddle of Steve Fossett's whereabouts is threatening to become one of the world's greatest aviation mysteries.

Nearly two weeks after Fossett's light plane vanished above a vast expanse of rugged Nevada wilderness, an army of rescuers and volunteers are still no closer to locating the millionaire aviator.

And as the frustrating search acres continues to yield no clues, rescue officials say there is a chance that Fossett may never be found.

"That is always a possibility," Lyon County undersheriff Joe Sanford admitted grimly to reporters at Minden Air Base this week.

Fossett has not been heard from since September 3, when he took off on a solo flight from a private airstrip south of Reno, and failed to return as scheduled three hours later.

Since then, a mini air-force of helicopters and planes have taken to the skies in an effort to locate the 63-year-old, a veteran of several world record breaking balloon and plane flights around the globe.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Geeks Spot Fossett?

Aviation adventurer Steve Fossett went missing while flying over Nevada a week ago Monday. The cops can't find him. The Air Force can't find him. (They did spot 6 other previously unknown wrecks, though.)

But maybe, just maybe, a geek sitting at his computer succeeded where the government failed.

Using an service called
Mechanical Turk, web users have been scouring massive amounts of satellite imagery in an effort to assist rescue workers. And one of them may have spotted Fossett's plane, according to AVweb

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Can Google Find Steve Fossett?

The search for missing U.S. adventurer Steve Fossett resumed on Wednesday as his friend, British billionaire Richard Branson, tried to find him through a satellite mapping service offered by Internet data provider Google.

Branson told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. he was worried that Fossett, who disappeared over the Nevada desert after taking off in a small plane late on Monday, had not activated the aircraft's emergency tracking beacon.

"I'm talking with friends at Google about seeing whether we can look at satellite images over the last four days to see whether they can see which direction he might have been flying and whether they can see any disturbances anywhere that they can pin from space," he said from Barcelona, Spain.

The company's Google Earth product offers a mapping service using satellite imagery.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Barron Hilton owns Flying M Ranch

Barron Hilton developed his passion for aviation long before he took the position of CEO, president or chairman—his present title—of Hilton Hotels Corporations.

Photo By Di Freeze
Photo By Di Freeze
From head of table, clockwise: Barron Hilton, Hyla and Richard Bertea, Holly Ciedeberg, Bill Ballhaus, Molly Ivans, Clay Lacy, and Peter and Ginny Ueberroth.
Hilton has more than 7,300 hours in gliders, balloons, helicopters and single- and multi-engine aircraft. It all began when he was about 10, when, while living in Dallas, he began riding his bicycle to nearby Love Field.

"I used to see the airplanes in the air, and I wanted to go out where they landed," he said. "I'd go and just stare at those planes and eat my heart out, trying to figure out when I'd be able to fly one."

In the mid-1960s, he acquired the Flying M Ranch, which was previously owned by Stanfield Murphy of San Francisco, and had a dirt strip.

The Flying M Ranch

As described in a video by Denver, the Flying M Ranch, 60 miles south of Reno, is "an awesome panorama of mountains and deserts." Cliff Robertson, in a poem that graces the wall in the main dining area, calls it "a place of magic."

The ranch covers an area that begins 25 miles south of Yerington, Nev., and stretches to the shores of Mono Lake in California. The Wassuk Mountains in the east and the Masonic Mountains in the west form the other boundaries of the ranch.

Photo By Dennis Ivans
Photo By Dennis Ivans
Barron Hilton returning from a trip to the ghost town of Bodie, Calif., in his MC 500-E.
Trout fishing is available at the ranch via the East Walker River, while trout and bass fishing are also available through manmade lakes. Deer and elk can be spotted roaming freely, and swans gracefully swim in a beautiful pond.

Nearby is Mount Grant, as well as the Toiyabe National Forest, six miles north of the ranch. The Sierra Nevada range looms to the west of the property.

Across from the main house is an old stagecoach house. Erected in the mid-1800s to house mules that hauled produce and firewood to the boomtowns of Aurora and Bodie, it is the second-oldest building still in operation in Nevada.

In fact, Bodie, on the border between California and Nevada, is on Hilton's property, which, according to visitors, is about as big as Rhode Island. Hilton explains that the property includes 20,000 acres owned by him, at fee, and 980,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management property, making for a million-acre ranch.

"I lease the land from the government," he says.

Photo By Dennis Ivans
Photo By Dennis Ivans
Molly Ivans at the wing of the Duo Discus.
In the main ranch house, where Hilton has his private residence in one wing, walls are decorated with photos of various aircraft, Hilton family and acquaintances. The main house also holds two dining room facilities. A smaller one is for made-to-order breakfasts. At a larger formal area, guests gather with their host like clockwork for five-star lunches and dinners. On this weekend, that included salmon, filet mignon, abalone, and elk medallions with huckleberry sauce, all created in a gourmet professional kitchen by a chef from the Reno Hilton, and served by attentive wait staff.

At six in the evening, an hour before dinner, guests begin arriving at the bar for cocktails, leisurely enjoyed there or in a big screen display room, where videos can be displayed or guests can catch up on news, or sip their refreshments in an adjacent reading area.

Besides the main ranch house, the complex includes several cabins for visitors, such as the French Suite, The New Mexico House and Balloon Cottage, as well as pilots' quarters.


Way to the flight line; this was the first impression after getting up the first day.

The airplanes stayed always rigged up and were "just" tied down.

The famous fire car, that is now used for filling the gliders with water ballast.

The ranch viewed from the most reliable thermal.

Bodie the ghost town; it is still on Barron Hilton's property.

Bodie Fuel Station

The elevator(s) for letting the workers down into the mines.

Alternative programme during the early day's waiting for thermals - flying!

This unique and maybe even "strange" flying boat was another highlight. Again possible to fly with it.

On that day it was hard to gain altitude. So you could view the reanch from every perspective, but not from the top.

Bodie bird's eye view. Remarkable that there is no tree left. Wood was the most valuable good there.

Bruno Gantenbrink, Chuck Jaeger, his wife and Ulf Merbold in the balloon; it is about 7 am.

Balloon racing - Barron finishes directly on top of the flag; Bruno waits for a changing brise to go for a splash'n dash.

Flying with oxygen is mandatory; almost daily we reached 18000 ft (the ranch is on 5000 ft).

The Steerman - going for a ride through the canyon (don't even think about something like that in Europe).

Spalsh'n Dash - probably some wet feet.

Annette Reichmann and Hannes Linke - two very central elements of the spectacle.

Sigi Baumgartl's advanced ceremonie (he had to return one day earlier).

The ETA, world champion and austronaut.

Daily briefing at 9 am.

Water ballast - the choices were yes (= full) or no (= empty). There was only one exception.

Clouds were rare and untouchable (18000ft is max. alt. due to airspace restrictions).

World champion Open Class Michael Sommer (r) with "Ms Sommer" (Tassilo Bode)

The Steerman - but without sound (and it seems they were flying quite high for the photo).

Search Is On For Adventurer Steve Fossett

The United States aviation authority is now scouring the desert for any sign of the 63-year-old celebrity adventurer whose emergency locator beacon has not been activated to signal a crash. "Fossett didn't file a flight plan," Ian Gregor, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman, said yesterday.

"It's a lot harder to conduct search and rescue if you don't know where the pilot was flying."

Nevada's Civil Air Patrol is leading the effort, with as many as 13 search craft mobilized by yesterday afternoon to cover hundreds of square kilometres of rugged terrain and sagebrush, according to Major Cynthia Ryan. These included six Cessna 182 planes from the Civil Air Patrol, each with a three-person crew, plus helicopters from the Nevada National Guard, California Highway Patrol and Naval Air Station in Fallon, Nev.

"We're committing federal resources to this mission," Major Ryan told The New York Times yesterday.
"We'd do this for anyone."
She added that Mr. Fossett took to the air in search of dry lakebeds where he could train for his next extreme exploit: topping the land-speed record.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Steve Fossett Gone Missing Near Area 51!

Samuel Heath at is hinting at a completely different scenario where Steve Fossett might have been captured by some aliens, since the location in question, is very near to one of the most controversial places in U.S.

Its an interesting read...

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Citabria Super Decathlon: the aircraft Steve Fossett used

The aircraft that world aviation record holder Steve Fossett was flying when he went missing is a Citabria Super Decathlon, these planes entered production back in 1970 in the United States and was used for many roles these include personal use, flight training and can also be used for aerobatic use.

The plane has a range of 563 miles.

Intensive Search Underway

A search was under way in the mountainous terrain of western Nevada on Tuesday for James Stephen “Steve” Fossett, the aviator millionaire, who disappeared Monday after taking off from a ranch for a brief recreational flight in a single-engine plane.

Nine aircraft have been searching several hundred square miles for signs of Mr. Fossett or the blue-and-white single-engine Citabria Super Decathlon he was last seen flying south in, Major Ryan said. Mr. Fossett took off heading south from the Flying M Ranch, which is about 90 miles southeast of Reno.

Six of the search planes were the Civil Air Patrol’s Cessna 182 planes, each with three-person crews, and in addition helicopters from the Nevada National Guard, California Highway Patrol and Naval Air Station Fallon in Fallon, Nev.

“We’re committing federal resources to this mission,” Major Ryan said. “We’d do this for anyone.”

Major Ryan said that the weather was clear and wind was light on Monday when Mr. Fossett took off, and the plane he was in was used the day before by other Hilton Ranch guests. She said technicians at the ranch said it was in “excellent technical condition.”

Major Ryan also noted that Mr. Fossett did not take along a satellite phone or other radio equipment “he would normally take because he only intended to be gone a short while.”

Steve Fossett missing in Nevada

A plane flown by record-breaking US adventurer Steve Fossett is missing in the Nevada desert, US federal aviation officials have said.

Mr Fossett was reportedly last seen taking off from the private airfield at the Flying M Ranch near Yerington, Nevada, on Monday evening.

He was flying a blue and white single-engine Citabria plane.

A Civil Air Patrol spokeswoman, Major Cynthia Ryan, said a search for the 63-year-old was under way.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said authorities had been alerted when a friend reported Mr Fossett missing.

Steve is a tough old boot. I suspect he is waiting by his plane right now for someone to pick him up
Sir Richard Branson
"The Civil Air Patrol is looking for him. One problem is he doesn't appear to have filed a flight plan," Mr Gregor told the Associated Press news agency.

Mr Gregor said the Air Force's Rescue Co-ordination Center in Langley, Virginia was overseeing the search.

"They are working on some leads, but they don't know where he is right now," he was quoted as saying.

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