Fossett past halfway on latest record attempt

? Aviator Steve Fossett passed the halfway point Wednesday night in his latest record flight in the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer.

Fossett is attempting to break the closed-circuit distance record for a flight that begins and ends at the same location. If all goes well, Fossett will land in Salina between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Friday.

As of 10 p.m. Wednesday, the millionaire adventurer and his lightweight experimental aircraft were over the western islands of Japan, flying at about 45,000 feet and about 340 knots. Fossett was expected to cross over mainland Japan and the Pacific Ocean today before heading toward Baja California, Mexico. He planned to re-enter the United States near El Paso, Texas, where he will begin his descent.

The flight is being monitored by students at Kansas State University’s Salina campus, where Fossett took off shortly after sunrise Tuesday.

Fossett is piloting the GlobalFlyer on roughly the same route as a flight last year, but he will add several turns to increase the total mileage. The flight is expected to take about 79 hours.