Burt Rutan will be celebrated and heard at Oshkosh this year. And if that sounds nothing like news, consider he hasn’t been an active participant since 2015. This year, though, Burt will take part in a Theater in the Woods event on Thursday and have three daytime forums during the show week.
Of course, Rutan’s efforts have been there all along, with the Oshkosh flight line filled with his instantly recognizable homebuilts, from the VariViggen and VariEze through to the Quickie, Defiant and Long-EZ. And his other envelope-stretching efforts include the Solitaire, Catbird and Boomerang. To say nothing of the round-the-world Voyager and the out-of-this-world SpaceShipOne. All told, Rutan unveiled 24 different designs at Oshkosh.
“We’re thrilled to honor Burt Rutan, who has been at the forefront of aerospace innovation for decades, this year at AirVenture,” says Rick Larsen, EAA vice president of communities and member programs. “His work in the aviation industry has continuously pushed the envelope in terms of design and energy efficiency and has inspired many to think outside the box.”
Twice the co-recipient of the Collier Trophy, Rutan is also a member of the International Air & Space Hall of Fame and National Aviation Hall of Fame. “I’m looking forward to returning to Oshkosh and taking part in AirVenture 2019,” Burt told EAA. “Since debuting the VariViggen at EAA Oshkosh in 1972, Oshkosh has been an important part of my career and life and I always enjoy interacting with homebuilders, EAA members, and aviation enthusiasts in general.”
No word if he’ll spring a 25th new design on the crowd this year. But who would put it past him?