G force training with Virgin Galactic in Mojave

Posted October 8, 2014 by Richard Branson

I continued my preparations for space with some exciting g force training in Mojave. Virgin Galactic Chief Pilot Dave Mackay piloted an Extra 300L plane, a small but extremely fast and reliable aircraft trainer.

The reason for doing the flight was to become more comfortable and confident in handling elevated levels of g force and to experience microgravity. The landing was also very similar to a typical SpaceShipTwo approach.

The Extra 300L is an in-line two-seat aircraft, in which the pilot sits in the rear seat and the co-pilot sits in the front seat. So I was in the front with the best view in the house!

We got airborne, climbed up, and Dave gradually built up the g force. We went up from 2g to 2.5g, to 3G then 3.5g, with gradual building up, then easing off. I practised the anti-g straining manoeuvre I had learned in my recent training at the NASTAR Center, and felt great the whole way.

It was a beautiful morning for flying and I couldn’t resist asking Dave to try a loop-the-loop as the team watched on below – it went so well we did another. Then we tried a barrel roll, before I tried out flying the plane (“really smoothly,” said Dave!)

Thanks to Dave for a magical experience. We achieved everything we set out to do with the flight. The Virgin Galactic team have sent me through a strict training regime that I will follow diligently on Necker Island as we continue to build up to our first space flight.

With the team making great strides in testing, it’s pleasing that my own preparation for space is going so well too. Look out for some behind the scenes footage of our progress coming soon.

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