Virgin Records founder SIR Richard Branson is positive his adventurer pal STEVE FOSSETT is alive and "waiting" to be rescued after he went missing in the Nevada desert on Monday (03Sep07). Fossett, 63, took off from a ranch in a single-engine aircraft in an attempt to set a world land speed record on Monday morning and was officially reported missing on Tuesday (04Sep07). America's Federal Aviation Administration said Fossett had not submitted a flight plan, nor communicated with air traffic controllers. Commander Douglas Russell of the Naval Air Station, Fallon, says, "It's rough, mountainous terrain there, there are not a lot of roads out there, rocky; picture if you will Afghanistan." Fossett's friend and sometime partner Branson says, "Steve is a tough old boot. I suspect he is waiting by his plane right now for someone to pick him up. Based on his track record, I feel confident we'll get some good news soon." The search will resume at first light on Wednesday (05Sep07).