Brian's Open Road

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  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Speedbump

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Mojave, CA

  • AIRED ON:

    Other: Speedbump

BRIAN BINNIE

Test Pilot
SpaceShipOne

“It's all about perseverance. I just had this attitude … where failure was just not an option.”

INTERESTS:

Engineering Science

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Determination Opportunity Perseverance Pressure Risk Struggle Failure

TAGS:

airplanes, childhood, comfort zone, flight, flying, limitations, make it or break it, Navy, space ships

BIOGRAPHY:

Brian Binnie spent his Sundays as a child flying toy rockets—it was something he just naturally fell in love with. After graduating from Princeton and Brown Universities, Brian enlisted in the Navy where he served for 21 years as a naval aviator. In the late 80s, however, Brian decided he wanted to become a test pilot, but, unfortunately, it took him three times before he was able to get into test pilot school. Soon enough, he was able to get in and graduated in 1988. In 2003, Brian set new records and triumphs when he test piloted the first flight of SpaceShipOne, a high-altitude research rocket. The rocket ascended about 68,000 feet and then it began its descent back to the ground. When the rocket landed, however, one gear collapsed, causing the spacecraft to take a hard rolling to a stop. Brian was uninjured, and the spacecraft sustained minor damage. One scare didn't stop him, though. One year later, Brian piloted SpaceShipOne's second Ansari X Prize flight, winning the X Prize and becoming the 435th person to go into space. Brian set a winged aircraft altitude record of about 367,000 feet, earning him the second set of Astronaut Wings given by the FAA.

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