Rutan Home

Burt Rutan was raised in Dinuba, California. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering at California Polytechnic University in 1965. His course work also included classes at the Space Technology Institute, California Institute of Technology at Cal Tech, marketing and personnel management courses in business administration courses from Golden Gate College, and classes in the Aerospace Research Pilot’s School at Edwards Air Force Base. Mr. Rutan holds, in addition, the honorary degree of Doctor of Science from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, dated 13 June 1987; Doctoral of Science, honoris causa, from Daniel Webster College, 17 May 1987; Doctoral of Humanities, honoris causa, from Lewis University, 22 May 1988 and Doctorate of Technology, honoris causa, from Delft University of Technology, 12 January 1990.

Mr. Rutan worked for the U.S. Air Force from 1965 until 1972 as Flight Test Project Engineer at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Then in March 1972, he became director of the Bede Test Center for Bede Aircraft in Newton, Kansas.

In June of 1974, at Mojave, California, Mr. Rutan formed the Rutan Aircraft Factory (RAF) to develop light homebuilt aircraft, and to market technical and educational documents. Through this company, the VariViggen, VariEze, NASA AD-1, Quickie, Defiant, Long-EZ, Grizzly, scaled NGT trainer, Solitaire, Catbird, and the world-flight Voyager aircraft were developed.

In April 1982, Mr. Rutan founded Scaled Composites, Inc. (Scaled) to develop research aircraft. The company currently employs 95 people at the Mojave, California airport. For 14 yearsSince its founding,, Scaled has been the world’s most productive aerospace prototype development company. Most of Scaled’s current projects are proprietary to the customer. Past projects include the 85% scale Starship 1 for Beech Aircraft Corporation, the Predator agricultural aircraft for ATAC, the CM-44 UAV for California Microwave, the Scarab Model 324 reconnaissance drone for Teledyne Ryan Aeronautical, the Advanced Technology Tactical Transport (ATTT) for DARPA, the 1988 America’s Cup wing sail, the Triumph light executive jet for Beechcraft, the ARES close air support attack turbofan, the Pond Racer, the Pegasus Space launch vehicle flying surfaces, the Model 191 general aviation single, a 40% scale B-2 bomber RCS model, General Motor’s 1992 show car (the GM Ultralite), the Bell Eagle Eye prototype tilt rotor RPV, the Earthwinds pressurized gondola, the McDonnell Douglas DC-X single stage rocket structure, the Raptor and Raptor D-2 high altitude RPVs for BMDO and the NASA ERAST program, a 40-meter wind generator for Zond, the X-35 for NASA and a tilt-body UAV for Freewing. Scaled developed the full-scale flying prototype for the VisionAire Vantage business jet, built three NASA X-38 crew return vehicle structures, and designed and developed the aerodynamics, structures and manufacturing methodsflight tests for the Williams, Intlernational. V-Jet II. The Rotary Rocket Roton atmospheric test vehicle airframe was manufactured at Scaled. Scaled’s latest flying prototypes are is the multi-mission, high-altitude Proteus aircraft and the Adam Model 309 business aircraft. Scaled is currently developing new composite manufacturing processes for application to general aviation, fighters, and new space launch vehicles.

In June 1985, Scaled was sold to Beech Aircraft Corporation, then acquired by Wyman-Gordon Company in January 1989. Mr Rutan was retained as President/CEO.

A few of the awards which Mr. Rutan has received include:

• EAA Outstanding New Design, 1975, 1976 and 1978.

• Presidential Citizen’s Medal presented by Ronald Reagan, December 29, 1986.

• Grand Medal of the Aero Club of France, January 29, 1987.

• National Medal of the Aero Club of France, January 29, 1987.

• Society of Experimental Test Pilots, 1987 J.J. Doolittle Award.

• Royal Aeronautical Society, British Gold Medal for Aeronautics, December 1987.

• Design News Engineer of the Year for 1988.

• Western Reserve Aviation Hall of Fame, Meritorious Service Award, 2 September 1988.

• The International Aerospace Hall of Fame Honoree, 24 September 1988 .

• Member, National Academy of Engineering, 1989.

• 1987 Collier Trophy for ingenious design and development of the Voyager and skillful execution of the first non-stop, non-refueled flight around the world, 15 May 1987.

• National Aviation Hall of Fame Honoree, 21 July 1995.

• SAMPE George Lubin Award, 9 May 1995.

• EAA Freedom of Flight Award, 3 August 1996

• Chrysler Award for Innovation in Design, 1 October 1997

• EAA Homebuilders Hall of Fame, 23 October 1998

• Designer of the Year, Professional Pilot Magazine, 13 March 1999

• Proteus Aircraft included in the list of the "100 Best of the Century", Time Magazine, April 1999

• Proteus

• Clarence L. "Kelly" Johnson "Skunk Works" award by the Engineers Council, February 2000

• 2000 Lindbergh Award by the Lindbergh Foundation, May 20, 2000