Learning Center Our Enshrinees

Elbert “Burt” Rutan

  • Employed as a civilian flight test project engineer with the United States Air Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California where he worked on nine different Air Force research projects.
  • Became the Director of Development at the Bede Test Center in Newton, Kansas in 1972. Projects there included the BD-5, the BD-6 and the BD-J5 or “pocket rocket” jet, which has since been featured in movies and numerous air shows worldwide.
  • Started the Rutan Aircraft Factory which developed and marketed innovative “canard” airplane designs for aviators interested in building their own light craft at home. He also created ground-breaking planes as the VariViggen, the VariEze, the Quickie, the Solitaire, the AD-1, the Amsoil Racer, the Defiant, the Long-EZ, and the world-renowned Voyager.
  • Designed, built and tested 17 manned prototype research aircraft and several unmanned aerospace projects for both commercial and government clients.
  • Founded Scaled Composites, Inc. in 1982 which designed and produced the 108 foot wing sail for the 1988 America’s Cup Challenge Race.
  • Created the Voyager, the first airplane to fly around the world nonstop without refueling, covering 24,986 miles in 216 hours in December 1986.
  • Awarded the FAI Gold Medal, the 1987 Collier Trophy and the Society of Experimental Test Pilots’ Doolittle Trophy for his work on the Voyager.
  • Logged over 3000 hours pilot time and flew all his 26 manned aircraft designs (except the Raptor and the Voyager).

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