Brian Binnie : biography
William Brian Binnie (born 1953) is a former United States Navy officer and is one of the test pilots for SpaceShipOne, the experimental spaceplane developed by Scaled Composites.
Binnie was born in West Lafayette, Indiana, where his Scottish father was a professor of physics at Purdue University. The family returned to Scotland when Binnie was five, and lived in Aberdeen (his father taught at Aberdeen University) and later in Stirling. When Binnie was a teenager the family moved to Boston. Binnie, an alumnus of Brown and Princeton Universities, served for 21 years in the United States Navy as a naval aviator flying the A-7 Corsair II, A-6 Intruder, F/A-18 Hornet, and AV-8B Harrier II. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School in 1988. Binnie also copiloted the Atmospheric Test Vehicle of the Rotary Rocket. In 2006, he received an Honorary degree from University of Aberdeen.
On December 17, 2003, the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers' first powered flight, Binnie piloted the first powered test flight of SpaceShipOne, flight 11P, which reached a top speed of Mach 1.2 and a height of 20.7 kilometers. On October 4, 2004, he piloted SpaceShipOne's second Ansari X Prize flight, flight 17P, winning the X Prize and becoming the 435th person to go into space. His flight, which peaked at , set a winged aircraft altitude record, breaking the old record set by the North American X-15 in 1963. It also earned him the second set of Astronaut Wings to be given by the FAA for a flight aboard a privately operated commercial spacecraft.
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