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SpaceShipTwo Accident Recounted By White Knight Two Pilot

Launch Aircraft Assisted In Locating Wreckage Of The Spacecraft

The pilot who was at the controls of White Knight Two last October 31 has spoken to the media for the first time about the accident that destroyed SpaceShipTwo and fatally injured pilot Mike Alsbury.

Pilot Dave Mackay, who is from the Scottish Highlands, recounted his story to the BBC in a recent interview. He said the White Knight Two crew was listening to the radio when "it became apparent fairly early that something had gone seriously wrong."

Mackay said that he did not see the accident. The flight profile for SpaceShipTwo called for it to be released at FL500, and then it dropped several hundred feet before the crew ignited the rocket motor. But, he said, he descended to support the effort to locate the wreckage, and pilot Peter Siebold, who miraculously survived the accident.

Seibold was thrown from the disintegrating spacecraft, and blacked out. He regained consciousness and was able to unbuckle himself from his seat and deploy his emergency parachute.

Mackay said there was widespread shock and sadness when he returned to the base. The NTSB continues to investigate the accident.

FMI: www.virgingalactic.com

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