While most of us are familiar with the aviation exploits of Steve Fossett, this man of many facets had many other interests as well. Well known is the fact that he was searching for a salt flat upon which to attempt to break the world land speed record, but this effort is just the tip of the iceberg.
While his close friend Sir Branson was developing his Virgin Galactic program Fossett was looking the other way - down to the bottom of the ocean. When Fossett disappeared his "Deep Flight Challenger" was nearing completion. This incredible vehicle was being constructed to allow Fossett to make a solo descent to the bottom of the Marianas Trench, the deepest known part of the oceans.
While two men in 1960 had made the trip in a bathysphere, this would be the first solo attempt by man. The Marianas Trench is 36,000 feet deep and located just off Guam. Water pressure at that depth is over 16,000 pounds per square inch, an incredible amount of pressure. The vehicle was being constructed to withstand over 20,000 pounds per square inch.
You can find a lot more information about this attempt at CNET News.
What a sad end to an incredible adventurer whose life helped fuel more interest in aviation, something all of us love.
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.