Rutan, Burt(Elbert Leander Rutan) (ro͞o`tăn), 1943–, American aerospace engineer, b. Portland, Oreg., grad. California Polytechnic Univ. (B.S. 1965). From 1965 to 1972 Rutan worked for the U.S. Air Force as a flight test project engineer, developing an expertise in aircraft flying qualities. He founded (1974) his own company, the Rutan Aircraft Factory, to develop light aircraft, and became known for his distinctive designs for the homebuilt aircraft market. In 1982 he founded SCALED Composites, which specializes in developing prototypes for aerospace projects. Rutan designed the VoyagerVoyager,
the first airplane to circumnavigate the earth nonstop on a single load of fuel. Designed by Burt Rutan and flown by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, Voyager took off from California on Dec.
..... Click the link for more information. , which his brother Dick and Jeana Yeager flew (1986) in the first nonstop, unrefueled flight around the world; SpaceShipOne, the first private vehicle to achieve suborbital (62.5 mi/100 km) spaceflight, won the $10 million Ansari X Prize for making two such flights within two weeks (Sept. 29 and Oct. 4, 2004); and the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer, which Steve FossettFossett, Steve
(James Stephen Fossett), 1944–2007, American investment banker and adventurer, b. California. After becoming a multimillionaire as a stockbroker and investment consultant, he began a second career as a sports adventurer.
..... Click the link for more information. piloted around the world in the first nonstop, unrefueled solo flight (2005). He retired from Scaled Composites in 2011.
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Rutan, (Elbert L.) Burt(1943– ) aircraft designer; born in Portland, Ore. In 1975 he founded Rutan Aircraft Factory. He designed over one hundred aircraft including the Voyager, the first plane to navigate the world without refueling (1986). He served as a consultant to Beech Aircraft (1985–88) and continued designing experimental planes in Mojave, Calif.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.