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Richard Branson

April 6, 2011 | By Mike Reicher and Kurt Streeter, Los Angeles Times
One of them owns a twin-engine airplane and a helicopter. The other? A fleet of spaceships. Richard Branson, the billionaire adventurer, and Newport Beach real estate investor Chris Welsh unveiled a one-person submarine Tuesday that they said will be used to explore the deepest reaches of the world's oceans. The pair said they will begin later this year with the Mariana Trench, a 36,000-foot-deep valley that has not been visited by mankind since 1960, when a bulky, two-man submarine operated by the U.S. Navy made the voyage.
April 5, 2011 | By Mike Reicher
For the first time, Richard Branson is setting his sights low. The billionaire businessman, adventurer and space explorer announced Tuesday his plan to dive solo to some of the Earth's deepest points. Branson and a fellow adventurer, Orange County businessman Chris Welsh, unveiled their 18-foot deep-sea submarine and its ambitious itinerary at Newport Harbor Yacht Club, where Welsh is a member. Within the next few months, Welsh plans to pilot the first solo submersible to the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench, 36,200 feet under the sea. After that, either Welsh or Branson will pilot the sub to four trenches in the world's other oceans.
May 2, 2010 | By Ellen Olivier, Special to the Los Angeles Times
There was quite a range of talent at L.A.'s Promise Gala, held Tuesday at the Century Plaza. Tom Lennon and Ben Garant of " Reno 911!" did the opening number, Natasha Bedingfield sang and Tom Cruise presented an award from the MLA Partner Schools to Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy. The honorees' combined credits include "ET," "Jurassic Park," "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and the "Bourne" trilogy. MLA works with schools in South Los Angeles to help provide an atmosphere in which students want to learn and gives them a college-ready education.
April 24, 2010 | By Mark Sachs, Los Angeles Times
Sir Richard Branson has taken time off from helming his global Virgin brand to help promote the fourth year of BritWeek, which highlights all manner of British connections with California. An impressive array of events in the Southland (and for the first time in San Francisco as well) can be found at And although the celebratory "week" began Saturday, not to fear — it actually runs through mid-May. Meanwhile, here's Sir Richard's L.A. Days & knights We like to stay at the Sunset Marquis.
March 24, 2010 | By ROBERT LLOYD, Television Critic
"Fly Girls," premiering Wednesday on the CW, is a reality series that follows five female flight attendants for Virgin America. Let me apologize in advance for the metaphor now arriving at Gate 8: It never gets off the ground. Notwithstanding a few apparently real tears and a bleeped expletive spoken in possibly real anger, the show is made of clearly concocted crises nearly from takeoff to landing, with little to offer beyond a long, though not penetrating, look at its attractive leads.
January 10, 2010 | By T. L. Stanley
Could there be a better advertisement for a brash, young company than to have a network TV series built around it, starring five of its gorgeous female employees and their impossibly glamorous lives? Probably not. The trick for "Fly Girls," then, will be to steer clear of infomercial territory, even though Virgin America serves as the backdrop of the reality show and its de facto sixth cast member. The hip, Richard Branson-backed airline looms large in the upcoming CW series, but the real focus is the massive amounts of melodrama surrounding the single, 20-something flight attendants who live together in a Los Angeles "crash pad" while partying, dating and jet-setting across the country.
December 8, 2009 | By John Johnson Jr.
On a wind-tossed desert night, the dream of space pioneers Richard Branson and Burt Rutan to bring space flight to everyone -- at least everyone who can afford it -- drew closer to reality when the pair unveiled the world's first commercial passenger spacecraft. To the strings of an ethereal soundtrack, as dreamlike purple lights played across the runway, the VSS Enterprise rolled into view at the Mojave Air and Space Port, about 95 miles north of downtown Los Angeles. Despite the bracing wind-chill factor, hundreds of people who had flown in from around the world to view the craft burst into cheers and applause.
February 28, 2009 | Peter Pae
A new airline started by flamboyant British billionaire Richard Branson inaugurated service between Los Angeles and Australia on Friday, the latest volley in a transpacific fare war that has already cut the price of a round-trip ticket by half.
January 8, 2008 | From Times Wire Services
Virgin Atlantic Airways cabin crew called off strike actions over pay after the Unite union reached agreement with the British carrier controlled by billionaire Richard Branson. Two 48-hour strikes, planned for Wednesday and Jan. 16, have been canceled after a two-year pay deal was agreed upon, Virgin said. The deal includes a 4.8% pay increase in the first year and guarantees to keep pay in line with the retail price index in the second year, the airline said.
August 9, 2007 | Peter Pae, Times Staff Writer
For a moment Wednesday, the shiny new planes seemed like a throwback to an era when flying was glamorous, service was a priority and airline food didn't cost extra. Champagne was flowing. Every seat had a tiny TV monitor of its own. Celebrities strutted through the cabin, which was lighted in cool blue and pink. It looked like an airborne discotheque. Virgin America took off in raucous style Wednesday.
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