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Qantas to give Webber wings 30 Jun 2011

Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, European Grand Prix, Practice Day, Valencia, Spain, Friday, 24 June 2011 A Qantas Boeing 747 over Melbourne. Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 2 April 2006. Webber is hurled into the sky taking a trackside advertising board with him As the car is thrown into a backwards flip, all Webber can see is clouds

Qantas has announced it is to assist Red Bull driver Mark Webber in his ambition to obtain his pilot’s licence. Webber is an ambassador for the well known airline, which has been the title sponsor of the Australian Grand Prix for the past two years.

Webber, who took on his Qantas role in February this year, spent some time at London’s Heathrow airport on Wednesday in the cockpit of a Qantas A380 with one of the airline’s training captains. Now he is set to transfer his skill set from the grid to the skies.

“Flying is something that has always fascinated me,” said Webber. “It was so exciting to have the opportunity to fly over the Albert Park Formula One circuit in a Qantas B737 simulator earlier this year and it really consolidated my passion to fly an aircraft one day.

“This is a new challenge for me and as a Qantas Ambassador I’m grateful to have the support of the team at Qantas and learn from the best in the business.”

Qantas Chief Executive Officer, Alan Joyce, said Qantas was pleased Webber had expressed a genuine interest in flying.

“Qantas will provide mentoring support with one of the airline’s training pilots and time in the Qantas flight simulators,” he explained. “Qantas will also recommend an approved pilot training organisation in order for Mark to learn to fly.

“I’m sure Mark’s driving skills and his excellent hand/eye coordination will put him in good stead in learning to fly an aircraft.”

Webber is already notorious for his flying exploits - in cars. His Mercedes-Benz sportscar famously flipped on the Mulsanne straight in practice for the 1999 Le Mans 24-hour race, and he took to the skies in spectacular fashion in last year’s European Grand Prix after colliding with Lotus’s Heikki Kovalainen.

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