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Elbert L. "Burt" Rutan

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Born, Portland, OR

June 17, 1943 -

Elbert L. (Burt) Rutan was born in Portland, Oregon on June 17, 1943 and raised in Dinuba, California. As a schoolboy he designed award winning model aircraft and learned to fly at age sixteen. In 1965, he received his aeronautical engineering degree from California Polytechnic University and began a career as a civilian flight test engineer for the United States Air Force.

After leaving the Air Force in 1974, Rutan launched his first private company, Rutan Aircraft Factory to market his light aircraft designs which included the VariEze, Quickie and Long-EZ. In this period the concept for the world-flight Voyager aircraft was developed.

In 1982, Rutan founded Scaled Composites, Inc. and developed prototypes of seven aircraft including the Beech Starship.

Burt Rutan's designs are characterized by the use of light-weight composite materials, innovation which is akin to the transition in aircraft construction from wood and fabric to metal.

On December 23, 1986, Rutan's Voyager aircraft returned to its starting point at Mojave, California completing a twenty five thousand mile and two hundred sixteen hour non-stop and unrefueled around the world flight, the first in history.

Burt Rutan's genius extends to aerodynamic design, the application of new materials and the inspiration to visualize beyond established limits.

Invested 1988 in the International Aerospace Hall of Fame

The photograph was provided by Joe Godfrey who also had an interview with Burt Rutan.

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Updated: October 20, 2004