Dick Rutan Dies At 85

Dick Rutan (Image: dickrutan.com)

Legendary pilot, educator and adventurer Dick Rutan died Friday according to a press release issued on behalf of the family. (full text follows). He was 85. Rutan, best known for the record-setting non-stop unrefueled circumnavigation he and Jeana Yeager accomplished in 1986, was surrounded by family when he died in Kootenai Hospital in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho in the early evening from complications resulting from a year-long bout with Long COVID according to family friends.

“He spent his last day in the company of friends and family, including his brother, Burt, and passed away peacefully at Kootenai Health Hospital in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, in the company of his loving wife of 25 years, Kris Rutan,” said the release. “He is survived by daughters Holly Hogan and Jill Hoffman, and his four grandchildren, Jack, Sean, Noelle, and Haley. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

EAA Chairman Jack Pelton said Rutan was a major contributor to the organization and aviation as a whole. “Dick Rutan is closely linked with EAA history for the past half-century,” Pelton said. “Whether it was the flights of canard aircraft to Oshkosh back in the 1970s, the unforgettable Voyager project and mission in the 1980s, or his trips to AirVenture for forum presentations almost every year, Dick Rutan was a true friend of EAA and AirVenture. We will miss him and remember him, and our condolences go to his family at this time.”

Berkut N268DK, built and flown by Dick Rutan. (Image:dickrutan.com)


  1. I remember the arrival at OSH 86. It was ethereal seeing them arrive high overhead. I had a scanner and heard Dick and Burt discussing the flight and Dick’s comment was “we don’t want to ever do that again”. He was talking about turbulence. He and Jeanna had been tossed around inside that bathtub like rag dolls.
    He was much more than that one flight.


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