Legendary Designer Burt Rutan Returning to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in 2024

Forums and presentations, plus aircraft displays, to be part of schedule

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Burt Rutan, whose innovative designs have captured the world of flight ranging from homebuilt aircraft to space vehicles, will return to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in 2024 with appearances and forums coinciding with the 50th anniversary of his VariEze canard aircraft design. EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2024 is July 22-28 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.

“Burt is best known to the public for his historic designs of SpaceShipOne, Voyager, and Global Flyer, but for EAA members and aviation aficionados, his unique concepts began more than a half-century ago with fiberglass canard aircraft that revolutionized the amateur-built airplane community,” said Rick Larsen, EAA’s vice president of communities and member programs, who coordinates AirVenture features and attractions. “Every time Burt joins us at Oshkosh, his presentations draw big audiences that are eager to hear his unique perspectives on flight.”

EAA president Tom Poberezny (far left) in front of White Knight and SpaceShipOne at Oshkosh in 2005. Also with Tom (from left) are Pau lAllen, Burt Rutan, Brian Binnie, and Mike Melvill. (EAA photo)

Rutan, an EAA Lifetime member for more than 50 years, made his first big splash at Oshkosh in 1972 with the VariViggen, which brought canard design to the homebuilt community. That led to a series of other Rutan recreational aircraft designs with innovative moldless fiberglass construction, which included the VariEze and Long-EZ that are still being built today.

The public recognition of Rutan came in the 1980s with his design of Voyager, which in December 1986 became the first aircraft to fly around the world non-stop on a single tank of fuel. The record was surpassed with a similar solo flight by Rutan’s Global Flyer in 2005, with Rutan’s unsurpassed legacy crowned with the successful flight SpaceShipOne in 2004, completing the first successful civilian space flight that earned the $10 million X Prize.

Burt Rutan talks about his experiences with flight design during an EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 forum in the EAA Aviation Museum. (EAA photo/Julie Wegner)

Along the way, Rutan’s imaginative designs also included the one-of-a-kind Proteus, an “affordable U-2 aircraft,” and the asymmetrical twin-engine Boomerang, among others, coming from Rutan’s SCALED Composites in Mojave, California, often regarded as the most aggressive aerospace research company in the world. Through the years, that company developed and tested a variety of groundbreaking projects, from military aircraft to executive jets, showcasing some of the most innovative and energy-efficient designs ever flown. Rutan has received the Presidential Citizen’s Medal, the Charles A. Lindbergh Award, two Collier Trophies, the EAA Freedom of Flight Award – the organization’s highest honor – and has been included in TIME Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” listing.

Rutan’s exact schedule at AirVenture will be announced as it is finalized. EAA is also working with the Rutan Aircraft Flying Experience group, which has preserved many examples of Rutan’s aircraft designs, regarding aircraft to be displayed at Oshkosh.

About EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is “The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration” and EAA’s membership convention. Additional information, including advance ticket and camping purchase, is available at www.EAA.org/airventure. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 800-JOIN-EAA (800-564-6322) or visit www.EAA.org.

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