Global balloon race to get off the ground tonight
Fossett's crew prepares for takeoff in Busch Stadium
First 2 contenders vie for record
December 31, 1997
Web posted at: 1:16 p.m. EST (1816 GMT)
From Correspondent Patty Davis
ST. LOUIS (CNN) -- Chicago millionaire Steve Fossett plans to
ring out the old year tonight by launching his third attempt
around the world non-stop in a balloon from Busch Stadium in
downtown St. Louis.
Fossett said he hopes to launch between 7 and 10 p.m. EST.
Five balloonists are vying to be the first to circle the
globe in a hot air balloon without landing, including three
who may begin their attempts in the next few days.
Anheuser-Busch will pay $1 million to the winner, who will
donate half to charity.
A L S O :
Five teams poised for round-the-world balloon race
Fossett made an attempt at the record earlier but his balloon
landed in an India mustard field after six days in the air.
He blamed the failure on not carrying enough propane fuel to
allow the proper steering that is needed in altitude changes.
Fossett will use a bigger balloon this time, and control its
altitude by working a propane ethane burner.
Fossett, president of his own securities company, is paying
for his $350,000 balloon himself.
"It's for a sense of personal achievement," Fossett has said,
"This is an objective, perhaps the greatest unachieved goal
While most of those attempting the flight are millionaires, a
Chicago architect is doing it on his own, tapping into his
life savings and corporate support to get off the ground in
suburban Rockford, Illinois, around sundown Wednesday.
Attempting his big dream on a small shoestring, Kevin Uliassi
has amassed $300,000 from various sources, including
corporate sponsors, his bank account and even a loan with a
Fossett makes a crash landing in India during an earlier flight
Even though Uliassi's longest balloon trip has been just over
100 miles, he doesn't consider himself a long shot.
"I look forward to it as an adventure," he told CNN earlier
this month, "I know I'll be uncomfortable. I may be cold, I
may not be as well fed as I am here on the ground. But I'm
really looking forward to the flight. I enjoy every balloon
flight I've ever had, even the tough ones."
Helium for Uliassi's balloon arrived at his launch site
Both Fossett and Uliassi are attempting to fly solo --
meaning they get little sleep. Their journeys could take
three weeks or more, in sub-zero temperatures.