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Virgin America names plane in honor of Steve Jobs

Courtesy of Virgin America

Your inner geek will smile the next time you board a Virgin America flight. After all, there's a chance that you'll be stepping onto a plane that is named in honor of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

Virgin America's Abby Lunardini explained to me that one of the airline's jets — an Airbus A320 — has "Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish" stenciled on its nose as the result of an internal plane naming competition which was run in the fall of 2011. At that time, the aircraft name was submitted "as a tribute" to Jobs by one of Virgin America's employees. The plane entered service late last year.

The phrase is a frequently quoted line from the commencement address delivered by Jobs at Stanford University on June 12, 2005. During his speech, he explained that he saw those words on the issue of "The Whole Earth Catalog," a counterculture publication — and that they resonated throughout his life:

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and Polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay hungry. Stay foolish.

As Lunardini pointed out to me, Virgin America is the only airline based in Silicon Valley, the home of Apple. All the more fitting.

Oh, and in case you're under the impression that "Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish" is a strange name for a plane, then boy-oh-boy have I got news for you.

According to the folks at Planespotters.net, a site dedicated to keeping track of all sorts of airline related details, Virgin America has planes with names such as "the 1-year-old virgin," "let there be flight," "Virgin & Tonic," Air Colbert," "my other ride is a spaceship," Arnold," "#nerdbird," "Superfly," and so on.

"Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish" will fit right in.

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