The Western Lines

October 6, 2008

Steve Fossett’s unfinished legacy: A Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Stephen Fossett was an American businessman, aviator, sailor, and adventurer and the first person to fly solo nonstop around the world in a balloon. He made his fortune in the financial services industry, and was best known for many world records, including five nonstop circumnavigations of the Earth: as a long-distance solo balloonist, as a sailor, and as a solo flight fixed-wing aircraft pilot. He also left an unfinished bit of legacy – a Submarine worthy of Tom Swift and a Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

Fossett was poised to set a new record, one that could have far surpassed his many others in scope and shock value.

The record? To become the first human being to dive solo to the bottom of the Mariana Trench the deepest point of the undersea realm, 36,000 feet (11,000 meters) below the ocean surface near Guam. Only two men have thus far explored this region of the ocean U.S. Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard aboard the United States Navy bathyscaphe Trieste on January 23, 1960. More men have walked on the surface of the Moon than have ever explored this area of the sea.

Fossett had hired Graham Hawkes the CEO of Hawkes Ocean Technologies to construct the craft that was poised to make the voyage -Deep Flight Challenger.

But, after the tragedy of Fossett’s death, the Deep Flight Challenger is now sitting behind locked doors in a warehouse near Hawkes Ocean Technologies offices. It is owned by Fossett’s estate, and it is not known what will happen to it given that the adventurer is no longer around to make the dive himself.


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