Hundreds of Vietnam missions, nonstop flight around the world, first private spacecraft launch, 46 aircraft designs produced by some of the achievements of the Rutan Brothers.

Aviation’s legendary Rutan Brothers visit Dayton

Aviation legends Dick Rutan, left, and his brother Burt Rutan, toured the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Thursday. Both men visited aircraft that were significant parts of their careers including this F-100F Super Sabre in which Dick Rutan flew mission in Vietnam. Burt Rutan climbed into the XC-124 tiltwing aircraft he helped design in the 1960's, just after completing college. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Photo: Ty Greenlees

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Lt. Col. Richard “Dick” Rutan (U.S. Air Force, retired) and Elbert “Burt” Rutan toured the museum and visited aircraft that Burt Rutan had a part in designing and a combat fighter jet that Dick Rutan flew in Vietnam. Both men are enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame. 

PHOTO GALLERY: Aviation’s legendary Rutans visit Dayton

“For me, seeing the XC-142 was very emotional because it was my first project right out of college,” Burt Rutan said about the vertical short takeoff and landing airplane that was being developed for all the armed services. “I haven’t been able to see it up close since the 60s.” 

Aviation legends Dick Rutan and his brother Burt Rutan, toured the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Thursday. Both men visited aircraft that were significant parts of their careers including this XC-124 tiltwing aircraft Burt Rutan helped design in the 1960's, just after completing college. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Photo: Ty Greenlees

Dick Rutan spent hours looking over his personal artifacts and an F-100F Super Sabre jet that he flew — all part of the Misty FAC (forward air controllers) display in the Southeast Asia exhibit. A photograph of the jet in Vietnam with then Capt. Dick Rutan and others is on display. 

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Aviation legends Dick Rutan, left, and his brother Burt Rutan, toured the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Thursday. Both men visited aircraft that were significant parts of their careers including this Misty FAC display in which Dick Rutan has artifacts from Vietnam.  TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Photo: Ty Greenlees

“The photographer caught the tail number in the picture, and the Museum went and found that airplane. When it came in here, it was in a crate. They’ve done a beautiful job of restoring it, and I thought how cool is was to get the actual airplane," Dick Rutan said. 

On March 18, 1968, Capt. James “Ed” Risinger finished his Misty FAC tour in the F-100F that is on display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force (S/N 56-3837). Capt. Risinger, holding a glass of champagne, celebrates his 58th and final mission. On the left is Capt. Brian Williams and inspecting bullet damage is Capt. Richard Rutan. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Photo: U.S. Air Force photo

Both aviators are also world-record holders with their most famous being the first nonstop, unrefueled flight around the world in 1986. The Voyager aircraft designed by Burt Rutan was piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, and the flight took 9 days, 3 minutes and 44 seconds to complete. 

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In 2004, Burt Rutan set another record with SpaceShipOne, which became the first privately funded, built and flown manned aircraft to reach space. 

The Air Force Museum Foundation and the National Aviation Hall of Fame are presenting an Evening with Two Enshrinees Living History Series with the Rutans this evening at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. Tickets are available at www.afmuseum.com/livinghistory or by calling 937-656-9631.

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