Message to TAM crew  at 0800 UTC, August 11

We received no position data from our satellite system for over three hours, from 0344 UTC to 0656 UTC.  This long silence had us convinced that the airplane had gone down, for we usually hear once every hour and a half, and most of the time, more frequently.  We were in the middle of telephoning our Irish crew to turn around and go home -- there was no airplane.  When bingo!! A new set of satellite data came in at 0656 UTC.  At this time, the airplane was 1608 miles into the flight, and the total flight time was 32.6 hours.

The engine and stalling business seems to have cleared itself.  We see no evidence of porpoising anymore.  Unfortunately, the ground speed is only 43 miles per hour, which is the speed of the airplane in still air in tests back in Maryland.  Apparently we have no tailwind whatever.  All of our sources of wind data are currently not functioning.  We are trying to get wind data from our friends in Ireland now.

The bottom line is that we have still 280 miles to go and at 43 miles per hour that's another 6.4 hours left.  That adds up to the fact that we will have to have fuel for a total of 39.4 hours.  That's on the upper limit of what we can expect.  But we can hope!  If the engine problem in the middle part of the flight was a lean mixture, maybe it will make it.

Our crew here has missed a lot of sleep.  We're tired but excited.


Maynard Hill