Burt Rutan and Scaled Composites


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Burt Rutan and Scaled Composites have been responsible for producing many novel and innovative aircraft.

In June 1974 Burt Rutan left his job at Bede Test Center, moved his family to Mojave, California, and started Rutan Aircraft Factory (RAF) in order to develop a non-conventional research aircraft he had designed while still in college, the VariViggen.

Link to the Rutan Aircraft Factory web site.

Vari-Eze

Burt Rutan transformed the whole approach to the traditional design and construction of homebuilt aircraft when he began selling plans to build the VariEze ('very easy') during the summer of 1976. Propelled by a 100-horsepower engine, a VariEze could carry two adults for about 700 miles at approximately 180 mph.

Vari-Eze, N7EZ Prototype Vari-Eze, N7EZ at the Mojave Airport on June 18, 1975. N7EZ has been registered to the Experimental Aircraft Association Aviation Foundation Incorporated of Oshkosh, Wisconsin since August 3, 1983.

Link to the National Air & Space Museum's page about the VariEze.

AD-1 Oblique Wing Demonstrator

The AD-1 Oblique Wing Demonstrator is a research aircraft to test the "skew-wing" system of variable geometry. The Rutan Aircraft Factory provided the detailed design and load analysis for the intentionally low-speed, low-cost airplane. It was powered by Two Microturbo TRS-18 turbojet engines, each producing 220 pounds of static thrust at sea level.

AD-1 Oblique Wing Demonstrator, N805NA AD-1 Oblique Wing Demonstrator, N805NA at the Edwards Air Force Base open house on September 20, 1981.

AD-1 Oblique Wing Demonstrator, N805NA AD-1 Oblique Wing Demonstrator, N805NA at the Edwards Air Force Base open house on September 20, 1981.

Link to the NASA Dryden Flight Reserch Center Fact Sheet for the AD-1 Oblique Wing demonstrator.

Scaled Composites, Incorporated

In April 1982, Burt Rutan founded Scaled Composites, Inc. to develop research aircraft. The company currently employs 130 people at the Mojave, California airport.

Link to the Scaled Composites, Incorporated web site

Voyager Round the World Flyer

The Voyager aircraft was designed and fabricated for a single mission: Fly around the world non-stop non-refueled.

Link to the National Air & Space Museum's page about the Voyager.

Voyager, N269VA The nearly complete Voyager, N269VA at the Mojave Airport on August 9, 1986. It made the first non-stop round the world flight from Edwards Air Force Base over the period from December 14 to December 23, 1986.

Voyager, N269VA The nearly complete Voyager, N269VA at the Mojave Airport on August 9, 1986.

Voyager, N269VA 3-D view of the nearly complete Voyager, N269VA at the Mojave Airport on August 9, 1986. Cross your eyes until the two images line up to see the Voyager in 3-D.

Starship 85%-scale prototype

In 1979, Beech decided to begin work on a new pressurized, all-composite twin-engine business turboprop, a brand new generation of aircraft based on latest building materials technology and a bold new, innovative design, that would become the Beechcraft Starship. In 1982, Beech approached Rutan and his company, Scaled Composites in Mojave, California, to participate in the final configuration study. Scaled Composites was engaged to build an 85 percent scale proof of-concept prototype to flight-test the configuration.

Starship 85%-scale prototype, N2000P Starship 85%-scale prototype, N2000P suspended in the Scaled Composites hangar at the Mojave Airport on November 9, 1986.

Link to Bob Schearer's Starship Development and Construction Page.

Grizzly

The Grizzly is a tandem-wing, STOL research aircraft powered by a 180-horsepower Avco Lycoming IO-360-B.

Grizzly, N80RA Grizzly, N80RA taxiing at the Mojave Airport on November 9, 1986.

Grizzly, N80RA Grizzly, N80RA taxiing at the Mojave Airport on November 9, 1986.

The Grizzly is now in the collection of the Experimental Aircraft Association Air Venture Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Model 33 Advanced Technology Tactical Transport (ATTT) demonstrator

The Model 133-4.62 Advanced Technology Tactical Transport (ATTT) proof-of-concept demonstrator is a 62% scaled version of an airplane designed to challenging STOL and long range requirements. The ATTT was developed and test flown by Scaled Composites, Inc. under contract to DARPA.

Scaled Composites Model 33 ATTT, N133SC Scaled Composites Model 33 Advanced Technology Tactical Transport (ATTT) demonstrator, N133SC on the Mojave Airport flightline on October 30, 1989. It was built in 1988 as a 68%-scale proof of concept vehicle.

Scaled Composites Model 33 ATTT, N133SC Scaled Composites Model 33 Advanced Technology Tactical Transport (ATTT) demonstrator, N133SC on the Mojave Airport flightline on October 30, 1989.

Scaled Composites Model 33 ATTT, N133SC Scaled Composites Model 33 Advanced Technology Tactical Transport (ATTT) demonstrator, N133SC on the Edwards Air Force Base south base flightline on October 25, 2003.

Starship 2000

The Beechcraft Starship 2000 is the world's first pressurized, all-composite business turboprop.

Starship, N2000S Starship, N2000S at the Paris Airshow on June 18, 1989. It was sold to a French client and registered F-WZCJ.

Starship, N2000S Starship, N2000S at the Paris Airshow on June 18, 1989. It was sold to a French client and registered F-WZCJ.

Starship, N2009W Starship, N2009W at the Santa Barbara Airport on July 19, 1990.

Starship, N2009W Starship, N2009W flying over the Santa Barbara Airport on July 19, 1990.

Starship, N2009W Starship, N2009W landing at the Santa Barbara Airport on July 19, 1990.

Starship, N2009W Starship, N2009W at the Santa Barbara Airport on October 20, 1990.

Starship, N514RS Bob Scherer's Starship NC-51, N514RS at the Chino Airport on May 16, 2004. It flies chase on mission of the White Knight and SpaceShipOne. It is one of about nine starships that remain in operation. Most of the rest have been parked at Pinal Airpark near Marana, Arizona.

Starship, N514RS Bob Scherer's Beechcraft Starship NC-51, N514RS served as "high chase" on missions of the White Knight and SpaceShipOne. It is one of about nine starships that remain in operation. Most of the rest have been parked at Pinal Airpark near Marana, Arizona.

Starship, N514RS Beechcraft Starship, N514RS at Mojave on June 21, 2004.

Starship, N514RS Beechcraft Starship, N514RS.

Beechcraft Starship, N514RS and Extra 300, N12DW chase SpaceShipOne Beechcraft Starship, N514RS, the Alphajet, and Extra 300, N12DW fly over the Mojave Airport before breaking into the landing pattern.

Beechcraft Starship, N514RS Bob Scheerer's Beechcraft Starship, N514RS at Mojave on October 4, 2004.

Beechcraft Starship escorts White Knight and SpaceShipOne Beechcraft Starship, N514RS escorts White Knight and SpaceShipOne as they climb to launch altitude

White Knight and SpaceShipOne Beechcraft Starship, N514RS

Beechcraft Starship, N514RS and Extra 300, N12DW

Beechcraft Starship, N514RS, the Alphajet, and Extra 300, N12DW Beechcraft Starship, N514RS, the Alphajet, and Extra 300, N12DW fly over the Mojave Airport at 8:15 A.M. before breaking into the landing pattern.

Link to Aviator Service's Starship History Article by Max Blech of Beech Aircraft Corporation.

Link to the Starship Diaries web site.

Quickie

The Quickie was developed in 1978 by T. Jewett, G. Sheehnan and B. Rutan, as a cheap aeroplane to build, and an easy airplane to fly. The airplane has a canard type design, constructed with glass fibre over a foam core.

Link to the National Air & Space Museum's page about the Quickie.

Quickie, N142AB Quickie, N142AB at the Santa Barbara Airport on October 20, 1990.

Triumph all-composite, 8-passenger business jet

The all-composite Triumph, an 8500-lb, 41,000-ft capable, pressurized 8-seat corporate aircraft, was designed around the then-unflown Williams FJ-44 turbofan engine. In 1988, Scaled performed the first flight of the Triumph, which was also the first flight tests of the FJ-44.

Scaled Composites Triumph Scaled Composites' Triumph N143SC all-composite, 8-passenger business jet graced the lawn in front of their hangar on March 23, 2003.

Scaled Composites Triumph is now on display at the Joe Davies Heritage Air Park in Palmdale.

Ares

The ARES (Acronym for "Agile Responsive Effective Support") Scaled Model 151, was designed initially in response to a U.S. Army request for a Low Cost Battlefield Attack Aircraft (LCBAA). It is powered by a single Pratt and Whitney Canada JT15D-5 turbofan engine (same as in the Beechjet / T-1A Jayhawk) and is armed with a GAU-12/U 25mm gatling gun. Ares appeared in the movie Aces, Iron Eagle III in the guise of a Messerschmitt 263.

Ares, N151SC Ares, N151SC on approach to the Pt. Mugu Naval Weapons Center on October 12, 1990.

Ares, N151SC Ares, N151SC on display at the Pt. Mugu Naval Weapons Center airshow on October 13, 1990. It featured an asymmetric design with the engine inlet on the left side of the fuselage and a gatling gun on the right side.

Ares, N151SC Ares, N151SC on display at the Pt. Mugu Naval Weapons Center airshow on October 13, 1990.

Ares, N151SC Ares, N151SC on display at the Pt. Mugu Naval Weapons Center airshow on October 13, 1990.

Ares, N151SC Ares, N151SC on display at the Pt. Mugu Naval Weapons Center airshow on October 13, 1990. The front view reveals the asymmetric placement of the engine inlet and gatling gun.

Ares, N151SC Ares, N151SC takes off at the Pt. Mugu Naval Weapons Center airshow on October 13, 1990.

Pegasus

Orbital Sciences Corporation developed the Pegasus launch vehicle to provide their customers the lowest cost per pound to place a 1,000 LB payload into low Earth orbit. The Pegasus launch vehicle consists of three solid rocket motor stages with a wing and fins for lift and attitude control of the first stage and gimbaled rocket nozzles on the second and third stages.

Scaled Composites engineering personnel carefully examined the launch profile and developed a composite structure that would meet the OSC performance goals in a cost-effective manner. Scaled Composites is also responsible for the fabrication and test of the Pegasus tail fins.

Orbital Sciences' Pegasus on NB-52B at October 6, 1990 Edwards AFB Open House The NB-52B became the world's first manned, winged, return to launch site satellite launcher when it launched the Orbital Sciences' Pegasus booster on April 5, 1990. The NB-52B was displayed with Pegasus s/n 002 at the October 6, 1990 Edwards Air Force Base Open House. Pegasus s/n 002 was launched with seven 48-pound Microsats on July 17, 1991. A failure during the first stage separation resulted in the satellites failing to achive the proper orbits. The last Pegasus launch from the NB-52B took place on August 3, 1994.

Orbital Sciences' Pegasus on NB-52B at October 6, 1990 Edwards AFB Open House Pegasus s/n 002 at the October 6, 1990 Edwards Air Force Base Open House.

Orbital Sciences' Pegasus on NB-52B at October 6, 1990 Edwards AFB Open House Pegasus s/n 002 at the October 6, 1990 Edwards Air Force Base Open House. It carried the name Shannon on its nose.

Orbital Sciences' Pegasus on NB-52B at October 6, 1990 Edwards AFB Open House Pegasus s/n 002 at the October 6, 1990 Edwards Air Force Base Open House.

Pegasus launches WIRE on March 4, 1999 A Pegasus-XL rocket was launched from Stargazer, the Orbital Sciences L-1011, at 6:56 P.M. on March 4, 1999. Its payload was the Wide-field Infra Red Explorer (WIRE) satellite. The booster climbed out of the earth's shadow during the second stage engine burn in this time exposure. It is framed by the planets Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn. The bright spot at the lower right is the lights of the town of Buellton in the Santa Ynez Valley.

NASA NB-52B, 52-0008 with the first X-43A The first X-43A, Hyper-X was launched from NASA's NB-52B, 52-0008 on June 2, 2001. The X-43A was boosted by a modified version of the Pegasus.

NASA NB-52B, 52-0008 with the first X-43A The first X-43A, Hyper-X was launched from NASA's NB-52B, 52-0008 on June 2, 2001.

Orbital Sciences Corporation L-1011, N140SC Stargazer is prepared for departure A Pegasus XL booster with the High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (HESSI) satellite was transported from Vandenberg Air Force Base to the Kennedy Space Center by Orbital Sciences Corporation L-1011, N140SC Stargazer on February 1, 2002. The 3-stage Pegasus XL booster with the HESSI satellite is visible underneath the fuselage of the Lockheed Tri-Star at Vandenberg Air Force Base on February 1, 2002.

Orbital Sciences Corporation L-1011, Stargazer takes off with the HESSI spacecraft, February 1, 2002 Orbital Sciences Corporation L-1011, N140SC Stargazer takes off from Vandenberg Air Force Base with the HESSI spacecraft, February 1, 2002. The HESSI mission was successfully launched off the coast of Florida at 12:58 P.M. EST on Tuesday, February 5.

NASA NB-52B, 52-0008 with X-43A Hyper-X, March 27, 2004 The second X-43A, Hyper-X was launched from NASA's NB-52B, 52-0008 on March 27, 2004. The Supersonic Combustion Ramjet operated successfully at Mach 7.

NASA NB-52B, 52-0008 with X-43A Hyper-X, March 27, 2004 NASA 008, Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress, 52-0008 lifts off. The Pegasus booster was modified by the removal of 3,300 pounds of excess propellant.  The propellant was machined out, removing the star shaped fins commonly found in solid fuel rockets.  In order to compensate for weight and center of gravity changes, its rocket engine bell was built of steel instead of aluminum to increase its weight.

NASA's NB-52B takes off with the third X-43A Hyper-X, November 16, 2004. The third X-43A, Hyper-X was launched from NASA's NB-52B, 52-0008 on November 16, 2004. The Supersonic Combustion Ramjet operated successfully at Mach 9.6.

Proteus

Scaled Composites Model 281 Proteus is a twin turbofan high altitude. multi-mission aircraft powered by Williams International FJ44-2E engines. It is designed to carry payloads in the 2000-pound class to altitudes above 60,000 feet and remain on station up to 14 hours.

Proteus, N281PR Proteus, N281PR at the Edwards Air Force Base open house on October 9, 1999. At the time, it was registered to Angel Technologies Corporation of St. Louis, Missouri. It has been registered to Northrop-Grumman Corporation since March 7, 2002. It is configured for telecommunications relay.

Proteus, N281PR Proteus, N281PR at the Edwards Air Force Base open house on October 9, 1999.

Proteus, N281PR Proteus on approach to the Mojave Airport on March 15, 2005.

Proteus, N281PR Proteus had been flying out of Knoxville, Tennessee for a week.

Proteus, N281PR It is carrying a large pod with a window on the underside.

Proteus, N281PR Proteus is also simulating a high-altitude, precision-strike UAV in tests conducted at Nellis Air Foce Base.

Proteus, N281PR at Mojave, December 10, 2005 Proteus returned to the Mojave Airport from a four-day visit to McGhee-Tyson Airport at Knoxville, Tennessee on December 10, 2005.

Proteus, N281PR at Mojave, December 10, 2005

Proteus, N281PR at Mojave, December 10, 2005

Proteus, N281PR at Mojave, December 10, 2005

You can buy framed prints or greeting cards of this photograph.

Proteus, N281PR at Mojave, December 10, 2005

Proteus, N281PR at Mojave, December 10, 2005

Proteus, N281PR at Santa Barbara, January 11, 2006 Proteus, N281PR stayed overnight at the Santa Barbara Airport on January 11, 2006.

Proteus, N281PR at Santa Barbara, January 11, 2006

Proteus, N281PR at Santa Barbara, January 12, 2006 It departed at 6:40 A.M. on January 12, about 25 minutes before sunrise. It flew to Kwajalein Atoll by way of Honolulu.

White Knight and SpaceShipOne

Scaled Composites White Knight N318SL launched SpaceShipOne to an altitude exceeding 100 kilometers to win the Ansari X-prize in 2004. It also carried and launched the X-37 experimental spaceship in 2006. Now it carries a section of airfoil under the fuselage to test laminar airflow technology in free flight for comparison to wind tunnel studies.

SpaceShipOne reaches 100 kilometers altitude Scaled Composites' SpaceShipOne made the first privately funded manned flight to 100 Kilometers altitude from the Mojave Airport early in the morning on Monday, June 21, 2004. Pilot Mike Melvill earned his astronaut's wings and experienced three minutes of weightlessness during the flight into space.

The flight was part of the envelope expansion phase of an attempt to win the $10,000,000 Ansari X-Prize

White Knight and SpaceShipOne Burt Rutan's SpaceShipOne won the Ansari X-Prize on October 4, 2004 for making two flights to an altitude of 100 kilometers from the Mojave Airport within two weeks.

Rutan's White Knight, N318SL at the Mojave Airport Rutan's White Knight, N318SL returned to the Mojave Airport from display at the Experimental Aircraft Association Fly-in at Oshkosh, Wisconsin on August 2, 2005. It left SpaceShipOne at Dulles International Airport to be put on display in the Milestones of Flight Gallery at the National Air & Space Museum. On its journey it visited Albuquerque, Tulsa, Dane County Regional-Truax Field at Madison, Wisconsin, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Dulles International, Spirit of St. Louis Airport at St. Louis, Missouri, and Pueblo, Colorado.

Rutan's White Knight, N318SL at the Mojave Airport

Rutan's White Knight, N318SL at the Mojave Airport

Rutan's White Knight, N318SL at the Mojave Airport

Rutan's White Knight, N318SL at the Mojave Airport

Scaled Composites White Knight N318SL Scaled Composites White Knight N318SL arived for the Edwards Air Force Base open house on October 16, 2009.

Scaled Composites White Knight N318SL Scaled Composites White Knight N318SL was displayed at the Edwards Air Force Base open house on October 17, 2009.

White Knight Flight Test 2002 patch The pilots of White Knight wear this patch on their shoulder.

Scaled Composites White Knight N318SL Scaled Composites White Knight N318SL

Scaled Composites White Knight N318SL Scaled Composites White Knight N318SL

Scaled Composites White Knight N318SL Scaled Composites White Knight N318SL carries mission marks for SpaceShipOne and the X-37.

Scaled Composites White Knight N318SL Scaled Composites White Knight N318SL

Scaled Composites White Knight N318SL Scaled Composites White Knight N318SL

White Knight N318SL taxis out to depart for Mojave.

White Knight N318SL climbed steeply from Runway 22.

White Knight Two

White Knight 2 N348MS was built by Scaled Composites for Virgin Galactic to launch SpaceShipTwo with passengers to altitudes above 100 kilometers.

White Knight 2 N348MS

White Knight 2 N348MS

White Knight 2 N348MS

White Knight 2 N348MS

White Knight 2 N348MS

White Knight 2 N348MS White Knight 2 N348MS

Photography Prints You can buy framed prints and greeting cards of this photograph.

White Knight 2 N348MS White Knight 2 N348MS

Photography Prints You can buy framed prints and greeting cards of this photograph.

White Knight 2 N348MS White Knight 2 N348MS

White Knight 2 N348MS The engine nacelles of White Knight 2 N348MS ar adorned with silhouettes of landmark aircraft and spacecraft.

White Knight 2 N348MS The Virgin Galactic logo appears on the nosees of White Knight 2 N348MS.

White Kight 2 N348MS taxis out to depart for Mojave.

White Knight N318SL and White Kight 2 N348MS prepare to take off.

White Kight 2 N348MS took off first.

White Kight 2 N348MS circled around as White Knight accelerated down the runway.

White Kight and White Kight 2 at Edwards AFB, October 17, 2009 White Kight 2 N348MS chased White Knight N318SL as it climbed away from the airfield.

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