Discovery to co-produce documentary on Steve Fossett

NEW DELHI: Discovery Communications has announced a partnership with Northern Ireland independent Brian Waddell Productions Ltd. (BWPL) to co-produce a documentary on Steve Fossett's upcoming attempt to complete the first solo non-stop flight around the world in the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer.

BWPL has acquired exclusive behind-the-scenes access on behalf of Discovery to film this historic event for broadcast later this year on the Discovery Channel.

Piloted by renowned aviator Steve Fossett, the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer aircraft will depart from Salina, Kansas as early as February 8 to travel a distance of 25,000 miles at 45,000 feet in excess of 250 knots (285 mph) during the estimated 67-hour flight around the planet.

To capture every detail, a documentary crew will shadow the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer throughout its journey in a seven-seater chase plane. A camera will also be positioned on the tailfin of the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer, and a second camera in the cockpit will allow Fossett to create his own video diary of the flight, providing Discovery viewers with the exclusive inside track on the highs and lows of this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

New technology from NASA will also beam pictures of Fossett back to mission control. A second crew will be installed at mission control in Salina, where they will track Virgin Atlantic chairman Sir Richard Branson as he communicates with Fossett during the flight.

"This is a great story of bravado and imagination for Discovery viewers worldwide," an official statement from Discovery, quoting Discovery Networks International senior vice president, creative development and brand management Rebecca Batties stated.

According to her, "Documenting events like this tenacious attempt to set the last great aviation record is the lifeblood of Discovery's long-standing tradition. It's about people exploring their world and realizing their dreams."

"We're privileged to be working alongside the top designers and technicians in the business, as well as Steve Fossett and Sir Richard Branson, both pioneers in different ways. We believe the result will be a thrilling landmark show for Discovery," BWPL director David Cumming was quoted as saying the statement.

After taking off from Kansas, the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer will follow the jet stream across the Atlantic to the United Kingdom. From there the aircraft will head south to the Mediterranean, through the Persian Gulf to Pakistan, India and Japan, and then across the Pacific on the last leg of the journey back to home base in Salina.

The provisional flight path for the chase plane containing the documentary crew will be Kansas, Boston, London, Athens, Dubai, Delhi, Shanghai, Tokyo, Honolulu, Los Angeles and Kansas. En route, both planes will fly over some of the world's highest mountain ranges and longest ocean coastlines. From this exceptional vantage point, Discovery viewers will share in the thrills and beauty of some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet in the company of Fossett, Branson and the entire Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer team.

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