Around the time Howard Hughes was working on his D-2 and XF-11 experimental planes, a boy was born in Jackson, Tennessee, who became as close to a modern-day Hughes as one can get. Steve Fossett, like Hughes, moved to Los Angeles, California to make his fortune, and like Hughes channeled a lot of that fortune into his first love: flying.
On this day, March 3, in 2005, Steve Fossett completed a journey some thought were impossible: a world-circumnavigating flight, nonstop and without a single refuel. By the time of his record, Fossett had already set others, including for a non-stop around-the-world flight in a lighter-than-air ballon.
Fossett had firmly established 116 different record across five different sports. Sixty of them stood in early September of 2007 when he mysteriously disappeared over mountainous terrain on a routine solo flight. Only a year later were the remains of his plane uncovered, and investigators concluded Fossett crashed into a mountain in mid-flight