As the year 2007 draws to a close, I can’t help but reflect back on perhaps one of the saddest events of the year for me, the disappearance of Steve Fossett. At the outset of that ordeal, I had held out the hope that somehow, by the grace of God, he had only had a minor problem and would either walk back to the remote airstrip he took off from a couple days later, or be picked up by a rescue helicopter from the Nevada desert. Sadly, we now know that would not be the case. For whatever reason, Mr. Fossett lost his life out there and I can only hope that his remains will some day be recovered to both give closure to his family and to hopefully find out what happened.
Because of this, I feel so very fortunate that I was at the right place at the right time to witness his non-stop solo circumnavigation flight into history. While attending Kansas State University – Salina, the campus of which is directly adjacent to the Salina Municipal Airport, I was able to watch him takeoff from beside the runway, and was also there to watch his return three days later, and witness the festivities that followed. It is certainly an experience that I will treasure forever.
Godspeed Mr. Fossett, wherever you are.
Sunday, December 30th, 2007