A tribute to a man who made aviation history when he took off from the Salina Regional Airport, and later returned after flying solo, non-stop around the world without refueling will be dedicated this week.
Steve Fossett’s record setting around-the-world, solo, nonstop flight in the Global Flyer in 2005 originated from Salina. The historic 22,936-mile, 67-hour flight started and ended at the Salina Regional Airport.
According to the airport, the Fossett Plaza at the airport will be dedicated with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday.
Sculpture artists Bruce and Brent Bitter, from B&B Metal Arts of Hoisington, designed, built and installed a 16-foot-tall monument to Fossett’s record setting flight. The sculpture is the center piece to the Salina Airport’s Fossett Plaza that offers aviation enthusiasts a view of the 12,300-foot runway used by Fossett for his historic flight.
The B&B Metal Arts sculpture features a stainless-steel globe with a replica of the Global Flyer in flight over the Atlantic Ocean. The base of the sculpture documents the entire route of the first ever around-the -world, solo, nonstop flight in a manned aircraft.
“Bruce and Brent Bitter designed and built a tribute to an aviation milestone that is on par with the first manned flight by the Wright brothers and the first solo crossing of the Atlantic by Lindbergh. Their sculpture will be an inspiration to aviation enthusiasts of all ages for years to come” according to Tim Rogers, A.A.E., executive director for the Salina Airport Authority.
B&B Metal Arts is nationally known for creating award winning metal art. Bruce and Brent designed, built and installed Kansas 9/11 sculptures on display at all six commercial airports in Kansas. Each sculpture incorporates a piece of World Trade Center steel I-beam upon which an American Eagle is perched under the words, “We Will Never Forget.”
The Fossett Plaza dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at 1:30 PM at Fossett Plaza, located at the west end of Beechcraft Rd.
The dedication will feature comments by Sylvia Rice with the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce, retired K-State Polytechnic dean and CEO, Dennis Kuhlman and artist Bruce Bitter.