Dick Rutan Dies At 85: Co-Pilot of Historic Round-the-World Flight is No More.


According to a statement released by the family, renowned aviator, teacher, and explorer Dick Rutan passed away on Friday. The passage in its entirety is below. His age was 85. Family friends said that Rutan, who is most known for the record-breaking nonstop unrefueled circumnavigation he and Jeana Yeager completed in 1986, passed away in the early evening in Kootenai Hospital in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, from complications stemming from a year-long about with long COVID. Family surrounded Rutan at the time of his death.

Pilot Dick Rutan Dies at 85:

When Burt Rutan saw that his intended aircraft was so full of gasoline that the wingtips scraped the ground as it taxied down the runway, he became frightened. Reaching for the radio, he alerted his older brother Dick Rutan, the pilot. Dick, though, never got the message.

Together with co-pilot Jeana Yeager, Dick accomplished one of the most significant feats in aviation history nine days and three minutes later: the first round-the-world trip without pause or refueling.

Dick Rutan, a decorated Vietnam War pilot, passed away on Friday night in a Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, hospital, surrounded by Burt and other loved ones. He was eighty-five. He passed away on his terms, according to his buddy Bill Whittle, when he chose not to spend a second night on oxygen following a severe lung infection.

Burt remarked of his brother, “He played an airplane like someone plays a grand piano.” His silky flying technique was sometimes compared to that of a velvet arm.

Burt Rutan Statement:

According to Burt Rutan, he had always enjoyed creating aircraft and was enthralled with the notion of a vehicle that could travel around the globe. His sibling had the same enthusiasm for aviation. It took six years to complete the project.

Voyager, the light graphite plane, was being tested, and Burt had enough to be concerned about. There were technical malfunctions that would have been devastating over an ocean away. The aircraft was unable to withstand turbulence when fully loaded. The issue of how the pilots could make it through such a lengthy journey with so little sleep still lingered. However, Burt claimed that his brother exuded a kind of positivity that inspired faith in everyone.

Burt remarked, “Dick never questioned whether my design would truly succeed with some gas left in the tank.”

On December 14, 1986, Voyager departed just after 8 a.m. from the Californian Air Force base at Edwards. According to Burt, the wings had barely inches of clearance because of all the gasoline. When they began dragging on the runway, Dick was blind. However, co-pilot Yeager provided a speed report when Burt called over the radio and muffled the message.

Burt said, “And then the velvet arm came in.” “He very slowly brought the stick back, and it lifted off smoothly with the wings bent way up, about thirty feet at the wingtips.”

When they returned, thousands came to see the landing and were greeted as heroes. President Ronald Reagan, who gave the Rutan brothers and Yeager Presidential Citizens honors, mentioned how a Thai official first “refused to believe some cockamamie story” about a plane that could travel around the world on a single tank of petrol.

Dick Rutan remarked during the event, “We had the freedom to pursue a dream, and that’s important.” We should never forget that we should hold on to our liberties with outstanding tenacity and exercise extreme caution with those who would have us believe that our safety comes before our freedom. This also applies to those who defend our freedoms. Obtaining independence is extremely tough; regaining it is even more complicated once lost.

Who was Dick Rutan?

The birthplace of Richard Glenn Rutan is Loma Linda, California. During the Vietnam War, he flew over 300 combat flights after enlisting as a youngster in the US Air Force.

He belonged to a select group that would spend hours hovering above enemy anti-aircraft installations. The operations were identified by the call sign “Misty,” and Dick went by “Misty Four-Zero.” The Purple Heart and the Silver Star were two of the several honors he was given.

Once, when enemy fire struck his F-100 Super Sabre over Vietnam, and again, when a mechanical malfunction occurred in the same aircraft when he was stationed in England, he managed to escape having to eject from the aircraft twice. After earning the title of lieutenant colonel upon his retirement from the Air Force, he began working as a test pilot.

According to Burt Rutan, his brother was constantly up to mischief, such as the time he spent several days trapped at the North Pole when the Russian aircraft he was riding in crashed into the ice.

When Dick Rutan piloted a rocket-powered aircraft that was launched from the ground in Mojave, California, in 2005, he broke yet another record, traveling around 10 miles (16 km). Also, it was the first time a plane of such kind had transported US mail.

Burt Rutan’s firm, Scaled Composites, was created by Greg Morris, who stated he first encountered Dick when he was around seven years old and has always found him to be kind and inviting.

“More than life, beyond all measure,” Morris said, enumerating Rutan’s contributions to the Vietnam War, aircraft testing, and Voyager flight. In aviation, any one of their efforts would become a legend. It’s simply unthinkable to have them all in one person at once.

Whittle said that Rutan had shown bravery during his last hours in the hospital; he was composed, astute, and lighthearted with them about what may happen after death. Whittle declared, “He’s the greatest pilot ever.” Kris Rutan, Dick Rutan’s wife of 25 years, his daughters Holly Hogan and Jill Hoffman, as well as their grandkids Jack, Sean, Noelle, and Haley, survive him.

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