From AF test pilot to private astronaut


Photo Virgin Galactic via L.A. Times

Retired Lt. Col. Keith Colmer, who had served as the director of engineering for the Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve Command Test Center, has been tapped by eclectic billionaire Richard Branson  to test Virgin Galactic’s futuristic spaceships.

Colmer, who had recently retired, is going from test flying the propeller-driven AT-6C light attack plane just a few weeks ago to testing Virgin’s spaceships WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo.

The L.A. Times reports that Colmer has logged more than 5,000 flight hours in more than 90 different types of aircraft, including two tours in Iraq flying F-16s. He beat out more than 500 applicants for the position.

Not a bad gig.


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