Miles Above Down Under

Dentist Mark Sandford dreamed of having a career beyond the clouds – and his flights of fancy really did take off. Chris Frame charts the journey from dental surgery to flight deck of Virgin Australia Boeing 737 pilot, Captain Sandford.

FROM THE COCKPIT Virgin Australia Boeing 737

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In the year 2000, Sir Richard Branson fundamentally changed Australian air travel with the launch of Virgin Blue. Designed to be the first real challenger to the long-held Ansett Australia and Qantas domestic duopoly, the new carrier introduced low-cost, no-frills flights connecting the nation’s major population centres. Faithful to the wider Virgin Group ethos, the airline’s mission was to shake up the status quo by making flying genuinely affordable, in turn opening up the Aussie skies to the masses.

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