Birmingham businessman Sir Trevor Beattie has pledged that he will still take part in the Virgin Galactic space flight – even after the tragic crash.

The entrepreneur, who was born in the city, took to social media site Twitter to pledge his support for the project.

Sir Trevor, who paid £100,000 to be one of the first to travel to space with Sir Richard Branson’s company is undaunted by the horrific test flight explosion, which left one pilot dead and one seriously injured.

He said: “For the record, I will not be cancelling my @virgingalactic ticket. Not now. Not ever.”

A massive investigation is taking place following the crash, and officials said the inquiry could last more than a year.

 

Christopher Hart, who is spearheading the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) investigation, said the recovery mission was still under way, with small parts of the SpaceShipTwo found 35 miles from the crash site.

Co-pilot Michael Alsbury, 39, died when the aircraft crashed in the Mojave Desert in California on Friday, while surviving pilot Peter Siebold, 43, was said to be alert and speaking with family members and medical staff in hospital.

In the wake of the incident Trevor also said: “Sweet dreams and flying machines. In pieces on the ground. Broken hearted.”

Sir Trevor has also highlighted a fund being raised in aid of Mike Alsbury, the pilot killed in the crash,.

Virgin Galactic – owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Aabar Investments PJS of Abu Dhabi – plans to fly passengers to altitudes more than 62 miles (100km) above Earth.

The company, which sells seats on each prospective journey for 250,000 dollars (£156,000), has denied reports that it ignored safety warnings ahead of the test flight crash.

Sir Richard also strongly denied claims of safety warnings and vowed to “push on” with the project.

“All I can say is we will not fly members of the public unless we can fly myself and family members,” he added.

Earlier, Mr Hart had said they were not ruling out pilot error and at the latest press conference he suggested part of the investigation would centre on the actions of the pilots.

In an interview with the Birmingham Post earlier this year, Sir Trevor spoke about training to take part in the three-hour flight into space – by learning the butterfly stroke.

The Balsall Heath-born entrepreneur, best known for his French Connection, FCUK and Wonderbra ads, says mastering the butterfly could be vital for his once-in-a-lifetime journey.

Trevor, 53, suffered a broken toe in a zero gravity training flight over California last October when a fellow passenger fell on him, but said he was now fully recovered in preparation for the space mission.

He said: “The only proper training for this is swimming – you are weightless and you are controlling your breathing. If you can learn the butterfly, that is a good way to train. It is not about physical fitness, your body weight is immaterial.

“I have not swum since I was a kid – I have got to get back into it. I would like to think that I could do some of my training at Moseley Baths.

“It is the only thing I have ever really wanted to do. It’s my life, and it will be the high point. Why would you not want to go into space? I think about it every single day.

“This is not a recent obsession for me. I know that we will get there but you can’t rush it. When you have waited all your life, then it’s something that you can wait for a little bit longer.”