Space Flight Training Takes Off at Kennedy Space Center: Florida Couple Are First to Fly Supersonic Fighter Jet

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Two Florida companies are teaming up to offer space flight training in the same supersonic fighter jet once used to train astronauts. Incredible Adventures markets a multi-day training program for Starfighters Aerospace. Their first clients, a husband and wife, just completed training in the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter.

Virginia and Terry Witt are congratulated by Starfighters owner and chief pilot Rick Svetkoff

Wow. There are no words to describe this ride.”

Two Florida residents have become the first to complete a new commercial space flight training program at NASA’s John F Kennedy Space Center. Terence Witt, founder of Witt Biomedical, and his wife Virginia trained for space in the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, the same supersonic plane used to prepare Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts for space travel.

The two completed a multi-day training program with Starfighters Aerospace, a privately-owned company that maintains a fleet of F-104 Starfighters approved for use in flight training and scientific testing. Starfighters Aerospace is the only company authorized by both the FAA and NASA to offer civilian suborbital space flight training out of Kennedy’s Shuttle Landing Facility. The company’s Starfighters take off and land on the very same runway used by the US Space Shuttle.

The Witts each passed a mandatory medical evaluation and completed two days of ground school covering the principles of atmospheric pressure and high-altitude flight before completing training in a hypobaric pressure chamber. Then, they received an extensive flight safety briefing, complete with ejection seat and parachute training, and strapped into the cockpit of an F-104 Starfighter.

Each completed a flight profile carefully designed to prepare future space tourists for the physical challenges of a suborbital space flight. A high-speed vertical climb simulated the high sustained g-forces of a rocket launch and was followed by a supersonic flight over the Atlantic Ocean. A parabolic maneuver exposed the couple to the sensation of weightlessness.

“My life can now be separated into two distinct parts, the part before I flew an F-104 and the part after. I can’t thank the Starfighter team enough for making this possible,” said Witt, a licensed turbine pilot. “To say that it was merely ‘incredible’ does it a great disservice.”

Mrs. Witt was equally enthusiastic after her Starfighter flight. “Wow. There are no words to describe this ride.”

The couple purchased their Starfighters Aerospace training package from Incredible Adventures, an international adventure company based in Sarasota, Florida. The company has an exclusive contract to market the Starfighters Aerospace F-104 program for Starfighters, Inc. Future space tourists can choose from two training programs and can reserve space by calling Incredible Adventures at 800-644-7382.

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Jane Reifert
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