Mike Alsbury Hailed as Hero

Mike Alsbury
Mike Alsbury

A Message from Scaled Composites

October 31st is now a day in history marked by tragedy

Mike’s life and his work were filled with purpose and achievement. His mission was important, and he approached it with discipline and bravery. Our loss is painful, almost unbearable, and his sacrifice unimaginable by so many. Mike pursued his passion and his curiosity of weightless flight by pioneering an industry that will surely one day allow us all to understand the allure of space.

A hero can be described as an ordinary human who chooses or is thrust into a journey that tests and teaches them; one who risks or sacrifices self for the sake of others or a greater good. Like X-15 pilot Mike Adams, the 7 Challenger and 7 Columbia astronauts, and many others, Michael Tyner Alsbury is an American HERO.

Mike Alsbury Memorial Fund

If you would like to support the Alsbury family, please follow the link below.

  • Stu

    I’m genuinely sorry for the loss that Mike’s friends and family have suffered. But I’m not sure about the “Hero” tag that gets all-too-easily bandied about these days (particularly in America). I’ve always considered a hero to be someone who dies in the process of saving others. A firefighter that goes into a burning building on a rescue mission and doesn’t make it back out would be a hero, or someone who drowns trying to save a child who has fallen into a river. I’m not sure that tag is really appropriate for the test pilot on a commercial endeavour. I’m not belittling what he did in the pilot seat, but I think we should reclaim the word “hero” and use it properly.

  • Hug Doug

    i understand your sentiment, but consider this: his death may very well have saved the lives of future VG passengers. would that count?

  • Test pilots, and others who push the boundaries of human
    achievement, are heroes because they expand the definition of what it is to be
    human. Humans go farther, achieve more, live fuller lives and may one day fill the
    cosmos because of the pioneers who lead the way and who carry us on their
    shoulders. Though fraught with risk, pioneering is a joyous, exuberant, exhilarating
    endeavor that forges a path for future generations and is the very definition
    of heroic.

  • SpaceTech

    Here we go throwing around the “Hero” moniker again.

  • Stu

    On the other hand, he was essentially a paid employee of a for-profit corporation, who was sadly involved in an industrial accident. Like I say, I don’t want to belittle anyone, but equally I have known of plenty of people killed in industrial accidents (not in aviation), and no one calls them heroes. They usually get called “unlucky”. It is a ballsy job, and one that carries a higher risk than many other jobs, but I think we need to be careful to avoid hyperbole and exaggeration. If this was a crash of an airbus prototype, no one would be calling the deceased pilot a hero.

  • MachineAgeChronicle

    Would he had been a hero if the plane was carrying passengers? VG and Scaled certainly seem to think SS2 is blameless in this accident.

  • Douglas Messier

    Did Scaled call the three engineers killed in the 2007 accident heroes. Maybe they did, I dont know. If I recall, they referred to that as an industrial accident and claimed there was no prior evidence that nitrous oxide could explode the way it did. They then appealed a paltry $25000 fine against it for workplace safety violations. Despite a promise from Dick Rutan to share the results of the investigation, they have never revealed what they discovered.

  • DavidR2014

    Do you mean Dick Rutan?

  • Paul451

    I completely agree with your point, but…

    If this was a crash of an airbus prototype, no one would be calling the deceased pilot a hero.

    I suspect the company PR rep would say something like that. “He was a hero who died selflessly ensuring the safety of the millions of passengers who will fly…” And I’d still raise a cynical eyebrow, “Orly? Hero?”

  • Stu

    I think it would be a stretch.

  • Guest

    >Despite a promise from Burt Rutan to share the results of the investigation, they have never revealed what they discovered.



    Cue, “Oh that’s not what I meant!” They shared safety lessons – isn’t that what’s important?

  • Douglas Messier


  • Guest



    Ok, well, I guess if that’s all you got then that’s the end of it. The results actually were released.

    I thought we were going to get into another big argument, but I guess I was wrong too.

  • Douglas Messier


  • Guest


    Ok, I’m sorry that I apparently broke your brain. Over the weekend you had to slip into your alter ego “jake” to respond to my facts, and now you’re apparently stuck in some sort of dyscognitive loop.

  • Douglas Messier

    Look at what Burt promised and what he delivered on revealing cause of accident. Didn’t reveal that.

    I don’t hide behind aliases here when I tell someone he’s wrong. You are wrong. And u are libeling me here.

  • Guest

    Do you think we’ll ever be able to interact without the conversation ending in implied threats?

  • Matt
  • Guest

    Yeah – Carolynne’s point and Scaled’s are pretty much the same, right?. Rockets are dangerous and steps need to be taken to ensure safe operation, even during seemingly innocuous tests.

    Rockets are dangerous, right? We should take steps to make sure they’re safe as possible, right?

    I’ll admit that I’m a bit dense. Can you just tell me what conclusion you want me to derive from Carolynne’s analysis?