TYPE: Technology demonstrator.
PROGRAMME: Announced 23 October 2003 and unveiled 8 January 2004; construction began in late 2002. Vehicle for attempt at first single-seat, non-stop, eastbound global circumnavigation (minimum 19,863.692 n miles; 36,787.559 km; 22,858.739 miles between 66° 33' South and 66° 33' North, as stipulated by FAI) by celebrated ballon pilot Steve Fosset, with Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic Airways as 'reserve pilot'. First flight still awaited in early February 2004; record attempt in 2004 (April, or October onwards, to capture optimum jetstream assistance), launching from central USA and flying round the world in 80 hours.
DESIGN FEATURES: Typical, innovative Scaled Composites configuration. Single-piece, high aspect ratio wing carrying central accommodation module and dorsal power plant pod, plus two separate pontoons, each with fin, underfin and two-piece tailplane.
FLYING CONTROLS: Manual. Actuation by cables and pushrods.
STRUCTURE: Composites throughout.
LANDING GEAR: Tricycle type; retractable.
POWER PLANT: One 10.23 kN (2,300 lb st) Williams FJ44-3 ATW turbofan. Total fuel approx 10,228 litres (2,700 US gallons; 2,250 Imp gallons) in 17 fuel tanks in pontoons, distributed about airframe to stabilise CG position throughout record flight. Fuel load represents almost 82 per cent of total T-O weight.
ACCOMMODATION: Pressurised cockpit for one occupant, including horizontal sleeping space and stowage for food and personal equipment.