LONDON, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Steve Fossett's round-the-world flight ended with a new record for a solo pilot and a dicey emergency landing in southern England.
Fossett spent 78 hours in the air and never got more than about 10 minutes of consecutive sleep. He flew 26,389 miles in the experimental Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer, breaking previous records of 25,361 for a balloon and 24,997 miles for a small plane, CNN reported.
A big reception had been planned for Fossett at the Kent Airport. But an emergency light came on as he began his descent, and he chose the Bournemouth Airport of the three alternatives offered to him because he had used it before. He blew two tires as he landed, surrounded by fire trucks.
"Wow, that was an exciting finish," he said at a news conference.
Fossett said there were some dicey moments earlier in the flight, including his takeoff Wednesday at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, which used twice as much runway as he expected.