Rutan Retrospective Gallery

Here is a gallery of Rutan designs harvested from Flying's files, dating back as far as 1975.

fly0811_rutan10.jpg
The Defiant’s vertical fins were in back, but its rudder was in the front, linked directly to the pedals. Rutan dressed western that day.
fly0811_rutan26.jpg
Rutan posed against the Tehachapis with three early prototypes: the 18 hp Quickie, the twin-engine Defiant, and the VariEze.
fly0811_rutan24.jpg
His first homebuilt design, the VariViggen, had the style of a fighter. The little tabs on the elevators were called “sparrow strainers.”
fly0811_rutan25.jpg
The VariViggen’s cockpit was pure fighter too, with instruments picked up from the then-ample supply of cheap military surplus.
fly0811_rutan23.jpg
Rutan and Garrison study the VariEze’s cowling while Peter Lert wonders where in the cockpit he will put his Althochdeutsch dictionary.
fly0811_rutan3.jpg
Flying typically relied on telephoto air-to-air photography. Here, over a rare smogless Burbank, was the Defiant in wide angle.
fly0811_rutan28.jpg
Predator, a three-surface ag plane, was unlucky: It had problems from the start, and ended up destroyed in a takeoff accident.
fly0811_rutan29.jpg
The DARPA-commissioned twin nicknamed SMUT would enjoy a second incarnation as a Bronco-style aft-loading twin-boom.
fly0811_rutan32.jpg
Ares was a sort of mini-Warthog, a ground attack airplane with a single jet intake on one side and a monster Gatling gun on the other.
fly0811_rutan19.jpg
Rutan’s last personal airplane, the symmetry-free Boomerang, displayed a fanciful virtuosity of design that remains unsurpassed.
fly0811_rutan30.jpg
Rutan and Richard Branson signal their approval of Virgin Mother Ship Eve, whose nose art appears incongruously non-Virginal.
fly0811_rutan31.jpg
The N number of the X-Prize winner’s mothership referred to the altitude it would have to reach: 318,000 feet above sea level.