Chicago Adventurer Still Missing

By Todd McClamroch in News on Sep 5, 2007 2:37PM

2008_09_05_Fossett.jpgThe search continues today for extreme sporting adventurer and former Chicago options trader Steve Fossett, who has been missing since Monday. Fossett was visiting the Flying M Ranch near Yerington, Nev., scouting for dry lake beds that could be used for breaking a land-speed record. He was piloting a Single Engine Bellanca Citabria Super Decathlon, a two-seat aerobatic plane, for his reconnaissance flight. The aircraft had over five hours of fuel on board when it departed the ranch around 9 a.m. on Monday. The plane did not return by early afternoon, and several hours later the search began.

Major Cynthia Ryan of the Nevada Civil Air Patrol explained the difficulties of the search. "It is a very large haystack, and an airplane is a very small needle, no doubt about it." More than 10 planes have been conducting a grid search of over 7,500 square miles with a concentration on a 600-square-mile area. As of this morning the search has not resulted in any leads.

Steve Fossett is best known for two of his aviation-related adventures. He became the first person to fly around the world in a balloon in 2002. Just three years later he set another world record as the first person to fly around world in a plane without refueling. His adventures have not been limited to the air; according to his website, Fossett "has set 115 new world records or world firsts, holding current official World Records in 5 sports."

Sir Richard Branson, who has sponsored many of Fossett's adventures, is still holding out hope, mentioning that that Fossett is "a tough old boot, I suspect he is waiting by his plane right now for someone to pick him up." The search mission continues and is still being classified as a rescue mission.

Photo from SteveFossett.com.