Major Gathering of Rutan-designed Aircraft Expected for Burt Rutan Tribute at EAA AirVenture 2011

EAA is working with builder, owner, and pilot groups to encourage a major gathering of Burt Rutan-designed aircraft at AirVenture 2011, and will also create a special parking area for them on the flightline.


EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. — (Dec. 8, 2010) — Paying tribute to an aviation legend responsible for many unique aircraft designs, EAA AirVenture 2011 will salute Burt Rutan with a special day of recognition along with dedicated programs and attractions. The 59th annual edition of “The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration” will be held July 25-31 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.

In addition to marking the 25th anniversary of Rutan’s Voyager aircraft around the world flight, AirVenture 2011 will include a “Tribute to Burt Rutan” Day on Thursday, July 28.

Rutan (EAA #26033), founder and chief technical officer of Scaled Composites in Mojave, Calif., recently announced his retirement effective April 2011 and will assume the title of Scaled’s founder and chairman emeritus. He is best known for his unique, innovative airplane designs, many of which were first seen by eager homebuilders annually at AirVenture, like the VariViggen (his first), VariEze, and Long-EZ (his self-described “best” homebuilt); one-off marvels like the Boomerang, Voyager, GlobalFlyer, Grizzly, and SpaceShipOne; and, most recently, SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo.

EAA is working with builder, owner, and pilot groups to encourage a major gathering of Burt Rutan-designed aircraft at AirVenture 2011, and will also create a special parking area for them on the flightline. Well-known Rutan aircraft designs will also be on prominent display and serve as a backdrop for various presentations during the week, as well as featured in the afternoon air show on Thursday, July 28.

Individuals with Rutan-designed aircraft flying to AirVenture or who are looking to participate in the Rutan tribute festivities are asked to email their interest to Rutan2011@eaa.org.

“Burt is certainly an aviation icon and a pioneering visionary in the homebuilt movement,” said Tom Poberezny, EAA and AirVenture chairman. “Burt has been such an integral part of our convention. His designs are a staple on the flightline at Oshkosh, and attendees will marvel at the wide variety of innovation on display.”

EAA’s AirVenture Museum will also highlight its several significant Rutan airplanes in its collection, including the VariViggen and VariEze prototypes, Amsoil racer, Grizzly, Voyager fuselage mock-up, Solitaire, Williams V Jet II, and the SpaceShipOne feathering mock-up. Other activities will include flying displays, a special program at Theater in the Woods, and presentations.

More features, programs, and attractions paying tribute to Rutan will be announced as they are confirmed.

Rutan, a 1998 inductee to the Homebuilders wing of the EAA Hall of Fame, graduated from Cal Poly in 1965 and went to work for the Air Force as a flight test project engineer. He founded the Rutan Aircraft Factory in 1974 to develop experimental aircraft designs for homebuilders, and then founded Scaled Composites in 1982.

AirVenture 2011 has been classified a Tier 1 event by the U.S. Navy as it celebrates the Centennial of Naval Aviation throughout next year. Several top-level attractions and events will commemorate this notable anniversary as well as 100th anniversary of air mail service. Other current days planned are “Tribute to Bob Hoover” Day on Tuesday, July 26, and Navy Day on Wednesday, July 27.

Additionally, returning for 2011 will be the Opening Day Concert presented by the Ford Motor Company on Monday, July 25, the widely popular Night Air Show and Fireworks on Saturday, July 30, and the World Symposium on Electric Aircraft, featuring influential industry leaders discussing the emerging era of electric flight, on Friday, July 29.

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