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 really 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

FOUNDATION:

Being Physically Active Being Creative

TAGS:

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

BIOGRAPHY:

  • When he was a kid, he’d play with toy rockets and gliders; clearly his great passion from day one.
  • Had to apply to naval test pilot school three times before he was finally accepted; flying was much harder than he’d expected.
  • Final test came down to him landing an old jet on an aircraft carrier at night in a storm; says “you live your life for moments like that.”
  • Was in the Navy for 20 years; wanted to keep flying rather than work a desk job, went to Mojave to keep flight testing.
  • Jumped into flight testing private spaceships, started pursuing Ansari X prize (flying a private aircraft into space on two occasions).
  • They hit failure after failure, finally got something right: spaceships kept successfully flying higher and higher.
  • After making it into space once, he was chosen for do-or-die second flight; it was successful, set winged aircraft altitude record.
  • Even after flying into space, felt more out of his comfort zone later that week doing Late Show with David Letterman.

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