Savvy Balloonist Starts Round-World Trip Halfway Round World

Briefs in a Brief

Northam, Australia ( – American tycoon Steve Fossett, making his sixth attempt to circle the globe alone in a balloon, predicted this trip will be successful because it’s starting in Australia, which he noted was “halfway around the world already.”

“By launching here, I only need to go around the other half back to America and I win,” said Fossett, who left from the same western Australian town in 2001 but was forced to land in Brazil. “I wish I’d thought of this last time.”

Just before takeoff, however, officials from the World Air Sports Federation in Switzerland told the adventurer that circumnavigating the globe meant starting and ending in the same general vicinity. Going from Australia to America, they said, would not fulfill that requirement.

Fossett’s protestations of “Jesus, look at a map, will ya!” fell on deaf ears.

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