Virgin America’s latest fleet of Airbus A320s, which took to the air across the US in recent weeks, includes an aircraft commemorating the life and legacy of Clifden man Myles King, who died earlier this year.
Mr King, a devoted family man who spent most of his life farming sheep in Barnoraun in the Twelve Pins, has lent his name to the Myles from Connemara, a newly built aircraft which will be used mainly to ferry passengers between JFK Airport in New York and Los Angeles International Airport in California.
The airborne tribute came about through Myles King’s son PJ’s involvement in Virgin Galactic, the Virgin group’s commercial space flight project which is in the process of developing a suborbital spacecraft which will take paying passengers to the edge of the earth’s atmosphere. PJ King is one of some 430 people around the world who have pre-booked a flight on the spaceship.
It was at a function organised by Virgin Unite, the charitable foundation set up by Virgin boss Richard Branson, in Los Angeles late last year that PJ King won the opportunity to name one of Virgin America’s new planes. When his father passed away in February, he decided to dedicate the aircraft to him.
“They told me it could be a year before the plane is ready,” he recalled. “By sheer coincidence they got in touch with me at the end of February and said you’re getting the first plane off the production line. The name will be there for the lifetime of the plane, which should be about 20 years.”
PJ King chose the name ‘Myles from Connemara’ because “it would mean something to Irish people in the US”. While some of those who spot the name of the plane will know, or wonder, who it was named after, all will recognise, whether in JFK or LAX, that they are miles from Connemara.
More information on Myles King and the Myles from Connemara is available online at www.mylesfromconnemara.com, or search for Myles from Connemara on Facebook.