Pilot Who Won SpaceX Flight Had to Give Seat to Pal After Exceeding Weight Limit
An Endeavor Air captain from Florida miraculously won a spot on SpaceX’s first tourist flight but says he had to give up his seat because he exceeded the weight limit. Kyle Hippchen, 43, a lifelong space enthusiast, bought $600 worth of tickets for a seat raffled off by Shift4 Payments founder and CEO Jared Isaacman. After winning the galactic jackpot, he read the fine print and realized that at 330 pounds, he couldn’t occupy the seat, which was for passengers under 250 pounds only. “I was trying to figure how I could drop 80 pounds in six months, which, I mean, it’s possible, but it’s not the most healthy thing in the world to do,” Hippchen told the Associated Press. The devastated pilot made the best of the situation by giving his prized seat to college roommate and fellow space zealot Chris Sembroski, 42, who had also entered the raffle. As Sembroski climbed into the spacecraft on September 15, Hippchen watched the launch from a VIP balcony, per CTV News.