Burt Rutan

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Burt L. Rutan
2000 Recipient

Burt L. Rutan, president of Scaled Composites, Inc., in Mojave, Calif., was selected to receive the 2000 Lindbergh Award because of his creative aircraft designs that reduce pollution and improve mileage.


Rutan is one of the most illustrious figures in the field of aviation today, and his genious for creative engineering and use of modern materials demonstrates his remarkable commitment to designing and creating aircraft. He is best known for his Voyager aircraft, which was the first to circumnavigate the Earth non-stop, without refueling. His most recent design is Proteus, unique for its modular construction, allowing it to be reconfigured to accommodate various payloads, depending on its mission. Rutan is a graduate of California Polytechnic University, with a B.S. degree in Aeronautical Engineering. He also took classes in the Aerospace Research Pilot’s School at Edwards Air Force Base. He served as a Flight Test Project Engineer at the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California from 1965 to 1972. In 1974, Rutan founded and became president of Rutan Aircraft Factory, Inc. (“RAF”), a small business formed to develop light aircraft. It was here that he became well-known for his “home built” airplanes. His first great success in experimental aircraft was the VariEze which could cover 50 miles per gallon and carry two people at nearly 200 miles per hour. Rutan was responsible for numerous activities at RAF, ranging from design through the flight test stage on innovative aircraft including the NASA AD-1, VariEze, VariViggen, Quickie, Defiant, Long-EZ, Grizzly, Solitaire, and Catbird. Rutan has received several honorary doctorates, and has lectured to prestigious organizations around the world. In addition, he has received nearly 60 major awards, and has been honored by the International Aerospace Hall of Fame and The National Aviation Hall of Fame.

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