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The Aircraft Designs of Burt Rutan

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The Aircraft Designs of Burt Rutan, Burt Rutan and Scaled Composites

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            Among aerospace engineers, there’s no one who could rival what Burt Rutan achieved with his career designing airplanes to the peak of it designing space ships. From successful homebuilt designs to record breaking flights and the recent space projects which successfully attained the first civilian funded space exploration project in history, no company or single person have gone so far to get close to what his ingenuity have allowed him to achieve. I have here are some of Burt Rutan’s cutting edge designs which like the X-planes, he built to venture beyond what accepted and applied science could offer thereby expanding our knowledge as a race of creative beings.

Rutan VariEze

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Considered one of Burt Rutan’s best selling homebuilt/experimental designs, this aircraft ventured the use of a canard which gave way for a spin resistant aircraft design with efficient long range cruise capability.

Rutan Quickie

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Another homebuilt design which led to the Quickie aircraft marketed by the Quickie Aircraft Corporation in 1978. The original single seater design was made by Burt Rutan which was expanded into two versions.

Pond Racer

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Designed by Burt Rutan and built through Scaled Composites by request of Bob Pond with the idea of a modern aircraft design competing with vintage aircraft in the Unlimited Class at the Reno Air Races.

Beechcraft Starship

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A twin turboprop 6-8 passenger pressurized business aircraft produced by Beechcraft and originally designed by Burt Rutan via Scaled Composites which took flight in 1986. Only 53 were built and 11 sold which Beechcraft considered cost prohibitive to support thus leading to the scrapping of unsold models.

Rutan Voyager

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Basically the first aircraft to fly around the world non-stop without refuelling and built by the Rutan Aircraft Factory with the help of volunteers. It took off 14 December 1986 at Mojave and returned after circling the globe 9 days later.

Scaled Composites ARES

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Built owing to a US Army request for a Low Cost Battlefield Attack Aircraft (LCBAA)it was completed and flown in 1990. It remained a technology demonstrator as the US Army hasn’t signified further interests for development.

Scaled Composites Model 202 Boomerang

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An asymmetrical aircraft design demonstrator aimed at minimizing the load imposed by single engine failure in twin engine aircraft.

Scaled composites Model 311 Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer

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A single turbine powered aircraft designed by Burt Rutan which established the first solo non-stop airplane flight around the world in 67 hours and 1 minute with Steve Fossett at the controls on 28 February 2005 to 3 March 2005. The aircraft broke the record previously established by the Rutan Voyager.

Scaled Composites Model 281 Proteus

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A tandem wing high endurance and high altitude aircraft designed by Burt Rutan as a High Altitude Long Operation (HALO) telecommunications platform. It is presently owned by Northrop Grumman.

Scaled Composites Model 318 White Knight

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A twin jet powered aircraft used to carry Space Ship One at altitude for space launch in line with the Tier Program which won the Ansari prize for the first civilian organization to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space.

Space Ship One

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A spaceship designed by Burt Rutan for the Tier Program which achieved the first spaceflight in 21 June 2004.

Scaled Composites' Model 339 SpaceShipTwo (SS2)

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Basically a suborbital spaceplane for tourists to outer space who could afford the fare. Seen here underslung from White Knight 2 mother ship, it is under development by “The Spaceship Company”, a joint project by Scaled Composites and Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group which aims to repeat what Space Ship One has achieved with civilians as passengers to space.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rutan_VariEze

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quickie_Aircraft

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scaled_Composites_Proteus

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpaceShipTwo

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burt_Rutan

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scaled_Composites

14 comments

don dreyer
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