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Author Topic: Another Legend Gone West.  (Read 2185 times)

Online Dan McEntee

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Another Legend Gone West.
« on: May 05, 2024, 01:04:53 PM »
   It hasn't raised much interest in the national news, what with goofball college kids protesting something that most have no idea about taking up all the media time. Meanwhile, another legend of aviation has passed away and gone west, as they say.

    Dick Rutan passed away on May 3rd, and I believe he was 85 years old. Dick is the brother of designer Burt Rutan and to most he is most famous for co-piloting the Voyager experimental aircraft in a non stop flight around the world with out refueling, Dick was also an accomplished test pilot and Air Force veteran.

   I had the pleasure and good fortune to have met and spoken with Dick on a few occasions at the KidVenture venue at Oshkosh. he was a frequent speaker on the "Heroes Stage" and was a very good speaker and story teller. he would take questions from the kids and give long, interesting answers to the most simple questions. I remember one kid asking him about the Voyager flight, " How did you go to the bathroom ?" and dick turned that into a hilarious 35 or 40 minute story that I can't even begin to remember!! I just remember it was very funny, very kid oriented, and I remember thinking if the piloting gig  didn't work out for him any more he had a future with kids books and stories!! He ended the story by actually answering the question, and that was if you go to the Smithsonian and look up at the Voyager from below, you can see a small tube protruding from the bottom and see the yellow stain streaking back from it. I wonder if anyone got that speech on tape?

   Another meeting was at the C/L circles. I saw a distinguished looking elderly gentleman all decked out in country/cowboy clothing, white cowboy hat and all. He had a gray beard and mustache with aviator sunglasses on that made me think of Col. Sanders!! I did not immediately recognize that it was Dick Rutan.  He watched intently for a while, so I approached him to ask if he had any questions, and he said no, that this was bringing backlots of memories of flying models as a kid. he talked about flying C/L with his brother and what engines and such that they used and I could tell he knew what he was talking about. Then I stepped back a bit and recognized him, and asked if his brother was Burt Rutan , shook his hand and said "Hello Dick!" I offered to let him take a few laps on the trainers but he refused and said the memories were quite enough. We talked about 10 or 15 minuets more and then he had to be moving on to meet some one. He really was a genuinely nice guy to me I have his and Burt's autographs on some KidVenture hats. I have read other articles in magazine about his activities  as a Misty pilot, flying Fast FAC missions in F-100 fighters to mark out targets for bombing and flew over 300 missions in that capacity. I'll have to find out what those articles were in and revisit those.

  R.I.P. Dick Rutan

  Type at you later,
   Dan McEntee
AMA 28784
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AMA 480405 (American Motorcyclist Association)

Offline Will Hinton

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Re: Another Legend Gone West.
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2024, 03:47:03 PM »
Thanks Dan, for this post.  I have been/am a huge fan of the Rutans and the wonderful addition to aviation they have made.
John 5:24   www.fcmodelers.com

Offline Jeremy Chinn

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Re: Another Legend Gone West.
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2024, 05:24:10 PM »
Rutan was truly one of my heroes when I was a kid. I built several models of the Voyager. This is a screen capture from a vhs vid of me flying one.

Offline dave siegler

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Re: Another Legend Gone West.
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2024, 06:14:20 PM »
I met him several times at EAA Airventure as well.  One time working at Kidevenure when I was hot and needed to get out of the sun,  I walked into the museum. and the AC fogged my glasses.  I bumped into him.  I apologized and he made some comments about the Wisconsin heat and humidity and the dry heat of Mojave.  He as at a book signing event.   

He was a complex guy.  Read his books they are interesting. 
Dave Siegler
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Offline john e. holliday

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Re: Another Legend Gone West.
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2024, 06:59:26 PM »
Thanks Dan.  Yes another of aviations gone on.   I it is getting to that point in life.
John E. "DOC" Holliday
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Offline Bruce Shipp

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Re: Another Legend Gone West.
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2024, 09:57:00 PM »
Here is the book about his F100 squadron in Viet Nam.  An outstanding read. 

A nickel on the grass…

Offline Joseph Lijoi

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Offline Roy DeCamara

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Re: Another Legend Gone West.
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2024, 03:44:03 PM »
When I try to read from the link for obituary some pop up tried to sell me a subscription to the Washing Post and I can't get rid ot the pop up to read the obit. ~> ~> ~>

Offline Chris McMillin

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Re: Another Legend Gone West.
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2024, 08:10:58 AM »
Me too, Roy.
I first became aware of Burt and Dick at the 1973 California Air Races at Mojave. Burt built the Vari Viggen and Dick flew a spectacular air show with it. The canard delta winged airplane had some really neat flying qualities and Dickbexploited them well. High alpha and low speed cornering being what I recall.
So long, Dick.
Chris…

Offline Roy DeCamara

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Re: Another Legend Gone West.
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2024, 11:11:32 PM »
Hey Chris    I was there in 1973.  I don't remember Dick Rutan's flight.  I do remember the Sea Fury with water ejection from the wing tips and the red and blue swirls twisting around in the air long after the airplane went by.  Long time ago.


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