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Old 04-03-2006, 04:00 PM   #1  
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Default Branson to let Virgin Atlantic pilots go galactic

Since we were just talking about the future of aviation, I thought I would post an interesting article about its near future. I think we will see space/supersonic travel (even though there are tons of kinks to work out) before we see artificial intelligence flying commercial aircraft.

Captain's log: We know them primarily as a faraway voice through an airplane's intercom system, imparting the odd gag or directing our attention to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta on our left. Some pilots, however, may soon have to brush up on their customary airborne banter--they'll more likely be pointing out whole continents or even the Great Wall of China. U.K.-based airline Virgin Atlantic has announced that any of its 700 pilots can now apply to fly passengers on SpaceShipTwo, the flagship craft for the world's first sub-orbital space tourism venture, Virgin Galactic.

Chairman of Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Galactic Sir Richard Branson said it's a good opportunity for British pilots. "I?m also sure our passengers will love the idea that one day the pilot on their Boeing or Airbus plane who is flying them around the world, will soon be flying passengers to space,? he said in a statement.

A pilot's 27-month secondment with Virgin Galactic would involve training for nine months in aerobatic, fast jet and executive aircraft skills, before finally taking the helm of Virgin Galactic space ships. Virgin Atlantic said it expects to recruit around 30 astronaut pilots before 2008.

To date, Virgin Galactic is believed to taken 157 bookings from aspiring space cadets including Paris Hilton and Sigourney Weaver, according to a U.K. press report, at $200,000 a pop. After jetting 12,000 mph to the edge of the planet's atmosphere, the seven-seater SpaceShipTwo will enter space for 15 minutes before landing a few hours later at a New Mexico spaceport.

According to a Virgin Galactic spokesperson "quite a few " Virgin Atlantic pilots have already signed up for the screening process. "Oh yes, everyone wants to fly the space ship," she said. "It's just the next step up."
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Old 04-03-2006, 05:42 PM   #2  
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my kind of flying!
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Old 04-03-2006, 06:10 PM   #3  
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Originally Posted by FL350
my kind of flying!
Oh no..............Heathrow-Bejing or Heathrow-LAX out backs..
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Old 04-04-2006, 01:55 AM   #4  
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Concorde pilots did it for a short time from LHR - JFK - LHR... all in one duty day.
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