In some circles Steve Fossett was considered as the Amelia Earhart of our day when the famous aviator and adventurer disappeared and could not be found despite monumental efforts. For months after the official search had been suspended many private groups attempted to locate Mr. Fossett and/or his aircraft.
None had any success until the accidental discovery of personal items of Steve Fossett’s while hiking in the high Sierras. Amazingly enough the hiker was not aware of who Steve Fossett was, or what had happened to him.
Fossett embodied the very values early explorers had, and had that can-do attitude so prevalent in those from the Western states. The story of Fossett’s life, his adventures, and the conclusion of his life represent a tale of iron will against the forces of nature, and as so very often happens, nature won.
What a contrast between his life and the life of the newly rich captains of industry who rape companies and retire to their lavish life style with their personal jets and giant sea going yachts. Instead, Fossett chose to devote his life to pushing the envelope, exploring the edges of man’s accomplishments to encourage exploration and the advancement of human knowledge.
Fossett set some 115 world records in aviation and sailing, and was attempting even more when he died. When others might have just retired he pushed on relentlessly pursuing his dreams and on that final fatal flight was searching for a flat salt bed to attempt to break the world land speed record in a high tech race car he had commissioned to be built.
He brought interest from the general public to our love, aviation, and he will be sorely missed by the aviation community.
Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds...and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of...wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up, the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, nor even eagle flew.
And while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space...
...put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.