Virgin considers SpaceShipTwo/White Knight II pilot tuition

London
Source: Flightglobal.com
This story is sourced from Flightglobal.com

Simulator and in-flight training on SpaceShipTwo (SS2) and its carrier aircraft White Knight II (WK2) could be offered to pilots in future under a cut-price Virgin Galactic deal.

While the UK space tourism provider is selling $200,000 flights to 110km (68miles) and back, it is also considering cheaper packages that allow customers to experience different aspects of the training and elements of the full suborbital flight regime.

As WK2 and SS2 have a common cabin Virgin Galactic will use the carrier aircraft for flight crew training and the three days of preparation it is planning for its suborbital customers.

Some of that training involves weightlessness through parabolic flights and with a descending wind up turn WK2 can also pull the 6g suborbital passengers will feel on SS2's re-entry.

Pilots who want to be trained on the SS2 simulator and gain flying hours on WK2's flightdeck, which is identical to that of SS2, could buy that experience under limited package options.

"We could do a cut-price package, everything but the flight, we probably haven't thought of all the possible applications," says Virgin Galactic commercial director Stephen Attenborough.

The US Federal Aviation Administration has informed Flight that it will require WK2 to be certified before it is used for anything other than as a launch platform for SS2.