Year Inducted: 2015
Beginning his illustrious career as a civilian flight test engineer for the U.S. Air Force at Edwards AFB, CA, design impresario Burt Rutan took aeronautical engineering and innovation to levels never before seen. Starting with such revolutionary aircraft as the VariViggen, VariEze, and Long-EZ, Rutan expanded the design envelope with a host of other unconventional, but exceedingly efficient aircraft such as the elegant Beechcraft Starship. He created the globe-circling Voyager which, piloted by his brother Dick, completed the world’s first non-stop circumnavigation of the Earth without refueling in 1986.
In 2004, Rutan’s company, Scaled Composites, entered the Space Age and the record books when their SpaceShipOne made the world’s first manned space flight by a private commercially-built spacecraft, winning the coveted Ansari X-Prize in the process.