Two brothers considered to be aviation and aerospace royalty visited the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Thursday before an event today where they will talk about their careers and accomplishments.
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.”
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.
“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.
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.
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.