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Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer Selects ORBIS

The Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer
team has selected ORBIS, a worldwide blindness prevention charity which
works in developing countries, as its official charity for the world
record attempt later this year. The Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer team aim
to set records for the fastest ever non-stop, non-refueled
circumnavigation of the world and the first ever by a solo pilot.
Sir Richard Branson, chairman of Virgin Atlantic and ambassador for ORBIS,

  “To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the ORBIS DC-10 Flying Eye Hospital
the Virgin Atlantic Global flyer is teaming up with ORBIS to raise well
in excess of $140,000 between now and the end of the year to fund a
pediatric Flying Eye Hospital training program in India.

  “As an ambassador of ORBIS I know how valuable their efforts are
worldwide—since the charity’s beginning in 1982 it has saved the sight
of 17.5m people.”

The money will be raised through a number of methods both onboard Virgin
Atlantic’s flights and through the website. ORBIS will be Virgin
Atlantic’s onboard charity from October to December this year giving
passengers the opportunity to donate their loose change and unused foreign
currency to the charity. Donations can also be made through the sale of
Virgin Atlantic Globalflyer merchandise on the website—for every item
sold 5% will be donated to ORBIS. The website address is:

  Oliver Foot from ORBIS, commented:


  “I am delighted that ORBIS and Virgin Atlantic will be working together
on the high profile Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer project and that the
blind children in India will be the ultimate beneficiaries.  The ORBIS
Flying Eye Hospital program in New Delhi will be teaching eye doctors and
other medial personnel new, effective sight saving operations, which
could bring sight to hundreds of thousands of children in India.”

  Steve Fossett, pilot of the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer, said:

  “The Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer is a pioneering record attempt and ORBIS is a truly pioneering charity helping prevent blindness worldwide.”


ORBIS was one of the first blindness prevention charities working in
developing countries to make childhood blindness prevention and treatment
a priority. The statistics are shocking—every minute another child will
go blind, that’s half a million children every year who will not reach
their full potential. With early diagnosis and treatment much of this
blindness can be prevented.

ORBIS offers a practical solution to this overwhelming need of childhood
blindness. Leading surgeons from around the world volunteer their time on
ORBIS training programs in the developing countries. These volunteer
surgeons work with local doctors, transferring appropriate sight saving
skills and expertise on board the unique Flying Eye Hospital and
in-country programs. Since 1982, ORBIS has trained more then 63,000
medical professionals, who have gone on to train their colleagues who have
in turn restored sight to 17.5 million people. To find out more about the
work of ORBIS visit

A dedicated web site——will
provide details of the project. It will give updates on its progress over
the coming months and will provide an unprecedented level of live coverage
of the record attempt during the flight itself. The site is being designed
and managed by Conchango and hosted by Energis.

  Mike Altendorf, Managing Director of Conchango, commented:

  “At the time of the unveiling of the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer aircraft the website had an incredible amount of traffic. As we cover the
preparation for the attempt on the site, the interest in it will build
worldwide, so I am confident that we can raise a substantial amount of

  “This is a charity that is very close to Conchango’s heart, and we’re
really pleased that the website we’ve built will now be driving value for
such a worthy cause. It makes all our efforts doubly worthwhile.”


The record attempt is due to take off from an as yet unchosen central US
location and is scheduled to take place from the end of this year. For the
world record attempt it will be required to fly for over 23,000 miles
which will take between sixty and seventy hours. The record attempt will
test the aircraft and pilot to their limits.