Dick Rutan

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Dick Rutan
Rutan standing next to the engine of the XCOR EZ-Rocket
Born (1938-07-01) July 1, 1938 (age 78)
Loma Linda, California
Nationality American
Citizenship American
Alma mater Reedley Junior College
Occupation Air Force pilot, test pilot
Known for Record-breaking aviator
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Geri Rutan (divorced)
Kris Rutan
Children 2[1]
Parent(s) George and Irene Goforth Rutan
Relatives Burt Rutan
Nell Rutan

“Killer”[2] (USAF)


Richard Glenn "Dick" Rutan (born July 1, 1938) is a retired United States Air Force pilot and record-breaking aviator who piloted the Voyager aircraft around the world non-stop with co-pilot Jeana Yeager. He was born in Loma Linda, California, where he gained an interest in flight at a young age. He is the older brother of aerospace designer Burt Rutan.


The Rutan Voyager, flown by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, designed by Burt Rutan

U.S. Air Force[edit]

He began his military career joining the Air Force Aviation Cadet Program at age 19, later becoming an Air Force lieutenant. Rutan served during the Vietnam War as one of the founding members of the “Mistys” of Operation Commando Sabre,[2] pioneering the use of tactical jets as a “FastFAC” (known as forward air control) for the FAC Airborne mission, which searched for and marked targets with white phosphorus rockets ahead of the strike package. He flew 325 missions but had to eject when his “Hun” F-100 Super Sabre aircraft was hit. Rutan had to eject a second time in his Air Force career when his aircraft suffered an engine failure over England.

During his career with the Air Force, Rutan was awarded the Silver Star, five Distinguished Flying Crosses, 16 Air Medals, and a Purple Heart. He retired from the Air Force in 1978 with the rank of lieutenant colonel.[3]

Post military career[edit]

Rutan also acted as a test pilot throughout his career, flying multiple designs such as the Fairchild T-46 in 1981 and the XCOR EZ-Rocket in 2001.

From December 14 to December 23, 1986, Rutan flew with Jeana Yeager on the first unrefueled non-stop flight around the world in the Rutan Voyager, a design by his brother Burt. The flight attracted world wide media coverage and set multiple records.

In 1997, Dick Rutan and Mike Melvill flew two Long-Eze aircraft that they built side-by-side around the world. This "around the world in 80 nights" flight was called The Spirit of EAA Friendship World Tour, and some legs of it lasted for over 14 hours.[4]

Campaign for congress[edit]

In 1992 Rutan ran as a conservative Republican against Democratic congressman George Brown, Jr. in California's 42nd congressional district; comprised mostly by the San Bernardino region of southern California and viewed as a swing district. In the Republican primary, Rutan upset San Bernardino County Supervisor Rob Hammock, who had run a strong race against Brown in 1990. In the general election, Rutan ran on a platform that called for reforming congress and lowering taxes. Brown, first elected in 1962, was long known for surviving close elections and prevailed once more with 79,780 votes (50.7%) to Rutan's 69,251 (44%). Fritz Ward, a Libertarian, received 8,424 votes or 5.3% of the vote.[5]


Besides the records Rutan set while flying Voyager (which consisted of multiple distance records, a speed record and being the first plane to fly non-stop and unrefueled around the world, more than doubling the old distance record set by a Boeing B-52 bomber in 1962),[6][7][8] he has also set[9] a number in his personal Long-EZ, including:

Awards and honors[edit]

Military decorations and medals[edit]

Civilian awards[edit]


External links[edit]