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VIRGIN EARTHWINDS RELEASES STATEMENT

 VIRGIN EARTHWINDS RELEASES STATEMENT
 AKRON, Ohio, Feb. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The following statement was


released today by Larry Newman of Virgin Earthwinds:
 The Virgin Earthwinds team closed the launch window today for this season. Our attempt to circumnavigate the earth non-stop by balloon will resume in November 1992.
 Based on what we saw on the launch field Friday night and weather analysis for the future, we have concluded that the prospects for finding suitable weather for the balance of this season are non- existent.
 We felt that last night was our last good chance for a launch this season. The forecast was for near-perfect launch conditions, and we began the launch sequence with high expectations.
 We started our sequence with calm winds, but shortly afterwards, the wind increased to six to 10 knots -- six knots higher than tolerable parameters for a safe launch. Those winds alone represented a challenge and the helium balloon itself withstood tremendous forces after we took it outside, soon becoming unmanageable in the higher-than-forecast winds.
 Launch Master Tom Barrow had indicated the need for perfectly calm conditions at the launch site for eight hours. Meteorological analysis indicated that our launch window generally extended from November through February.
 What has been characterized as an unusually mild winter for northeast Ohio has meant less stable surface conditions for this region. For example, analysis of 768 hourly observations from Akron-Canton Airport since Jan. 22 has shown that there were only a total of five hours of calm air -- or less than one half of 1 percent.
 We have received enthusiastic support from a number of very generous sponsors. Virgin Atlantic Airways has supported us faithfully with expert personnel, financial backing and their considerable experience. Barron Hilton and the Hilton Hotels Corporation have been generous and enthusiastic supporters, and have assured us of their continued support. ESPN, our original sponsor, has helped us tell our story and build public interest. Canon joined us last year, and only last month another sponsor signed on -- Sector Sport Watches.
 In addition, Don Moses, Vladimir Dzhanibekoz and I owe our heartfelt thanks to the City of Akron and its people who have donated their time and creative talents that brought us to our current flight-ready status. In particular, we must thank our hosts, Loral Defense Systems, for their invaluable expertise, contribution and use of their marvelous airdock. It became our second home. And thanks to our home away from home, the Akron Hilton Inn at Quaker Square, for their genuine hospitality.
 We have spent more then three years putting this ambitious project together utilizing some of the world's finest aerospace and aviation talent. Through hard work, generous support and creativity we have conquered many challenges that have made us flight-ready.
 I believe we have built a unique and remarkable flying machine. Eight months from now we intend to fly it. The dream of Virgin Earthwinds is to accomplish the impossible. I know this dream can become a reality. We will see you in November.
 -0- 2/22/92
 /CONTACT: Bill Armstrong or Neil Cohen, 216-434-0115, both for Virgin Earthwinds/ CO: Virgin Earthwinds ST: Ohio IN: SU:


CP -- NYSA005 -- 1635 02/22/92 14:13 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 22, 1992
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