View Full Version : Love Branson (or just hate him)?

Anti Skid On
21st Jul 2003, 20:53
Not shy of publicity thisboy (http://www.flyer.co.uk/news/newsfeed.php?artnum=57)

To save you the trouble (and without the nice piccie)Sir Richard Branson flew a replica of Sir George Cayley's glider on Saturday (July 5) to commemorate the first manned flight 150 years ago. The Virgin chief was appropriately dressed as a coachman for the occasion as the original flight in 1853 was made by Sir George's coachman, John Appleby. Although he made history, Appleby clearly didn't enjoy the experience; after flying some 200 yards and crashing on landing he resigned on the spot, memorably saying: "Sir George I wish to give notice. I was hired to drive, not to fly".

Saturday's flight took place from the same field at Brompton Dale, near Scarborough, where the original flight launched 50 years before the Wright brothers made their record-breaking first flight of a manned powered aircraft.

Sir Richard, who flew at 6ft for 50 yards, clearly enjoyed it more than Appleby and said afterwards: "Brilliant. We've done it, we've done it. That was exhilarating, magnificent. I can retire knowing that I can fly."

He had helped make the reconstruction possible by providing £50,000 to help past and present employees of BAE Systems, in conjunction with the local branch of the Royal Aeronautical Society, to construct the replica.

Cayley has been described as the father of aeronautics as he set out the principles of lift and thrust, and the means of vertical and horizontal control.

Perhaps the model is indicative of his future plans?

21st Jul 2003, 21:13
Love him - he's my hero! Only those riddled with jealousy and envy can dislike him. He's the epitome of what the man in the street can do with willpower and perseverance.

21st Jul 2003, 21:28
you got to admire Tricky Dicky Branson - he never backs down and gives everything he tries 110%. Its hard not to admire him, even Ex- Easy leader Stelios regards Branson as his hero and role model

P1 Forever
21st Jul 2003, 21:56
Is Richard Branson a qualified pilot?

I know he likes his balloons but is he able to fly B747 or A340's,

Just interested to know...


Buster Hyman
21st Jul 2003, 22:23
I wonder what Mike Oldfield thinks of him?

21st Jul 2003, 23:10
Someone quoted "what the man in the street can do ".
Well I've noticed that he shares this with Mike O Leary - in that they both run round in rugger jerseys and pretend that they are normal ordinary guys who have "made good".
The truth in both cases is somewhat different.

Both are of very rich parents and public school educated . Both priviledged individuals had an enormous head start in life. ( I have nothing against public school guys - but don't think that they should try to pretend they are something else like these two do!).

Just think what kind of business risks you could have taken as a young man if you knew "mummy and daddy " would bail you out if it went tits up?

21st Jul 2003, 23:32
Sir Richard Branson was hardly 'the man in the street' ; very few of those are sent to Stowe. Lord King of Wartnaby, was not, contrary to popular myth, born with a silver spoon in his mouth.
What do I think of them? Well for a start they are both hard-nosed businessmen. King made his money in engineering during WW2 and has a bullying streak used to intimidate those who challenge him - I tried one of his responses once and received an immediate apology so it works :E
Branson's publicity technique means he's always 'in yer face' but it seems pretty cheap advertising if you don't mind acting like a barrow boy.
Basil would not like to work directly with either of them - would prob result in clash of personalities and award of P45 :oh:

22nd Jul 2003, 00:14
Some years ago, I attended a business luncheon where the main speaker was Branson. He talked about how the airline was launched and the problems with BA - as far as legal eagles allow.

As to the merry japes that he runs he was upfront, he said that he did not particularly like to spend his time making a fool of himself but it was the cheapest publicity he could get. He knows that the press will attend any launch party he appears at. So, he now plans them with the simple objective of getting free publicity, rather than having to pay for it. MoL does the same, but Sir Richard has been doing it longer and is, in my view, the infinitely preferable one of the two. Both in terms of what one sees of him and the airline. The two aspects (the man and the airline) are, of course, closely interlinked.

However, that is not the case with BA. I heartily dislike the chairman, and the past chairman but their airline is superb. However, as a matter of principle, I do not use BA unless their is no choice, which is a pity for all the staff who work so hard.

22nd Jul 2003, 01:24
Is there any more news on Dick Branson and his efforts to enter into the US market with the Virgin Express brand?

Rod Eddington
22nd Jul 2003, 02:13
you've got to admire the guy, he's a marketing genius.

22nd Jul 2003, 02:47
P1 - at his recent glider exploit he said it was the first time he'd ever flown an aircraft, balloon excluded.

Branson's fine, if a little irritating at times. Born to wealthy parents but he left school at 16 I think. Boy done good.

His dad [retired judge] seems pretty cool too. Remember a docu about RB a few years ago. At 15 or so RB was obviously a bit fed up of school. His dad took him for a walk in the garden 'Now look Richard, its vital to get educated. A levels, university and get a law degree and you're set up. That is my advice to you'

All the next week his dad agonised about whether he was trying to influence him too much. The next weekend, another walk; 'Now look Richard, what I said to you last week, well frankly it was rubbish. My advice now is do what you want, but keep busy. Always always keep yourself busy'.

Seems his dad perhaps had more influence than he ever intended :)

22nd Jul 2003, 03:04
Met him at a fundraiser on a yacht in Monaco port, and he's all energy. What he's done, and the flek he's put up with (some deserved) is made more remarkable by the results he's acheived over the years. If the UK had embraced him sooner, there would be far more entrepreneurs of his calibre around. He has made it from school dropout, with supportive parents and a drive without comparison. His flambuoyant antics seem to be his way of letting off a little steam whilst as the above posts say, providing free publicity.

Well done Branson, and roll-on the others.:cool:

22nd Jul 2003, 03:21
Well, if I remember a recent program about him on BBC 2, although he may have come from a relatively wealthy family, he was taught at an early age to fend for himself. Daddy did not finance his business ventures. Richard Branson is an ordinary guy with a very ordinary education. He started at the bottom (very young) and through good business acumen worked his way up. He can communicate with people at all levels - a very handy important tool which many of today's super educated fat cats have no ability to do - hence the recent fiasco at BA.

22nd Jul 2003, 03:33
He's both hyperactive and dyslexic.
Both are advantages, used in the right way.
Success isn't usually an accident.

22nd Jul 2003, 09:04
He is not adverse to stiching people up if it favours his cause. Just ask anybody who worked for the record label when he sold it to EMI (?). He broke promises and lied to them.

He is no saint. Almost been to prison a few times.

Check 6
23rd Jul 2003, 02:38
Met Sir Richard in 1994 on Necker Island, his private hide-away in the BVI. He is a very pleasant chap, very laid back.

You want it when?
23rd Jul 2003, 16:04
For him, definately. So what if his parents had a bob or two. He built the Virgin empire and keeps it going - he takes risks and they seem to come off.

Thumbs up sir.

23rd Jul 2003, 16:31
"...50 years before the Wright brothers made their record-breaking first flight of a manned powered aircraft."


New Zealander Richard Pearse (1877-1953) made his first successful flight on 31 march 1903, predating the Wright Brothers flight by over eight months.

24th Jul 2003, 01:06
Surprised this got past the moderator....

May I suggest restraint - I believe that an anonymous forum doesn't provide much protection. His lawyers beat BA remember!

Nearly went to prison a few times 'to see Geoffrey Archer/ Ronnie Biggs/ Johny Aitken' was probably what you meant to say - anything for some free publicity!

I started a modest business 9 years ago - it took 5 years to make a profit. Whilst not in the Branson league - and never will be 0.0001 of it - I do face the occasional remark that suggests I have it easy - can fly when like, work when I like etc. etc.

Invariably, the remarks come from people in secure jobs who couldn't ever magine taking the plunge - chucking it all in and doing something they really believed in.

The risks ensure that only a small percentage of people actually have the balls to do it.

Life is no rehearsal - better to try and fail than never having tried. You will only ever go to your grave saying ' I wish I had .....'

You will never know until you try.


24th Jul 2003, 01:52
Haven't considered that the posts on the thread have been unacceptable. One or two have pushed towards the limits but in general have stayed within them.

Richard Branson is a special man. Like it or not. He has sought and achieved remarkable publicity at almost no cost. The cost of his exploits are calculated to be minimal against the ultimate result. That of putting Virgin way up the list of the people's favourite airline. And never forget he surrounds himself with superb people.

The man will always be a winner. THAT...........is what get's up the nose's of the higher echelons of the airline industry. He knows no bounds to achieve what he wants both for his business' and himself.

Cornish Jack
24th Jul 2003, 21:45
Have worked both for him and the Birdseed opposition. Attended one of his (at one time) annual summer parties at his home in Oxfordshire. On the day we went, as part of some 10.000 employees (for that day) - five days of similar numbers - he was at the gate, greeting everybody from early morning until about 3 PM, when he left a chalked message that his arm was aching and he'd gone to join everyone else. Splendid day, all for free, music, food, drink etc. and the freedom of his house and grounds. Not sure that there was much publicity mileage to be gained from that but we Virgin peeps thought it was pretty good. :ok:
I think I may have seen Sir Col. in passing when at Braincrank but he WAS terribly, terribly busy! :{

25th Jul 2003, 10:21

You have to admire this guy's sense of humour! :ok: :ok:

24 July 2003


Dear Geoff,

I was amused to read Qantas’s completely dismissive comments about Virgin Atlantic’s chances of getting permission to fly to Australia. It would be prudent for you to remind yourself of your and James Strong’s equally dismissive comments about Virgin Blue’s chances of entering the Australian market only three years ago.

Here goes! This is the gist of what you said:

“Virgin Blue is a lot of media hype.”
“This market is not big enough to sustain Virgin Blue.”
“Virgin Blue doesn’t have deep enough pockets to cope.”
“Qantas will employ any option to see off this interloper.”
“They’ll be unlikely to survive a year.”
“Claims by Richard Branson that domestic fares are high are a misnomer!”(my exclamation mark)

Here is what James Strong, your former C.E.O, said about Virgin Blue and myself:

“If you listen to most of the pretenders there is a distinct air that they are making it up as they go along. In terms of real plans and real commitment you could fire a shot gun up the main street and not hit anybody.”

Yet three years later you are telling your staff that this same airline, “that was making it up as it went along” and that now has 30% of the market could, “Drive Qantas out of business!” We also find it flattering, if a little silly, that three years on you now have spies hiding behind pot plants in the Virgin terminal trying to work out why we are so successful.

Even if some of your comments don’t suggest it, your actions indicate you are taking us seriously. But let’s not take ourselves too seriously. I would like to propose a friendly challenge!

If Virgin Atlantic fails to fly to Australia (within 18 months, say) I’d be prepared to suffer the indignity of donning one of your stewardesses brand new designer outfits and will work your flight from London to Australia serving your customers throughout.

However, if Virgin Atlantic does fly to Australia you would do so instead. On our inaugural flight from London to Australia you would wear one of our beautiful red Virgin Stewardesses uniforms and serve our inaugural guests all the way to Australia. Oh and in case you were wondering, we’re not hung up on flying through Hong Kong. You might end up doing your days work experience through Singapore, Thailand or Malaysia instead.

This is the challenge. If you believe in what Qantas said to the press there can’t be any risk for you. We expect your response within one week. Our inaugural flights are great fun and I look forward to welcoming you on board personally. Oh and by the way my preferred drink is ………..!

Kind regards,

p.s. I enclose a picture to give you an idea of what you might look like.


25th Jul 2003, 17:56
It might be camera angle, but he looks a damn sight higher than six feet in the photograph! Nearer 20 -30 ft, judging by the photographers in the background.

Blind lemon
25th Jul 2003, 20:22
Any body who has a go at BA:E is alright by me.

A later day Freddie Laker:ok: definately the peoples choice;)

Iron City
29th Jul 2003, 21:06
Question was posed whether Richard B is a licensed pilot?

Is the Cayley glider replica an aircraft? If it isn't a licensed aircraft or never gets above 50' is it in the navigable airspace of the UK and does it need certification, licensing or approval? Naah, save everybody a lot of time and trouble and just fly it around your private estate w/o benefit of licensing. If you kill yourself in the process, well you shouldn't have signed up if you can't take a joke.