Voyager Aircraft’s non stop and unrefueled flight around the world in December of 1986 placed Mojave proudly on the map and placed Dick Rutan in the history books.
In July of 2002, Dick Rutan once again became a part of history. He was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio. In 2001, Dick Rutan became the chief test pilot for XCOR and has been flying the first ever rocket powered experimental Long EZ. In time, he plans to set new world records with the EZ Rocket.
Dick Rutan obtained his balloon pilot’s license in 1995. In 1998, he attempted to make the first ever flight around the world in a balloon in the Global Hilton. That attempt ended three hours after takeoff, due to a manufacturer’s defect in the balloon.
Within minutes of landing on terra firma, Dick Rutan pledged to try again, and built a second capsule called World Quest. The World Quest Project ceased when a rival team captured the milestone in March of 1999.
From April 4th to June 24th of 1997, Dick Rutan completed The Spirit of EAA Friendship World Tour, along with flight lead, Mike Melvill. This “Around The World In 80 Nights” flight was completed in two small experimental Long EZ aircraft that Dick and Mike built side by side almost 20 years ago.
Dick Rutan received both his solo pilot’s license and driver’s license on his 16th birthday. At the age of 19, Dick Rutan joined the Air Force Aviation Cadet Program, was commissioned Lieutenant, and later received a B.S. at the American Technological University through the Air Force Professional Education “Boot Strap” Program.
As a Tactical Air Command fighter pilot in the Air Force, Rutan few 325 combat missions in Vietnam, 105 of them as a member of a high risk classified operation known as the MISTY’s. Before retiring in 1978, Lt. Col. Rutan had been awarded the Silver Star, five Distinguished Flying Crosses, 16 Air Medals and the Purple Heart.
In 1981, Dick Rutan founded Voyager Aircraft, Inc., and prepared to complete the first ever around the world, non stop, non refueled flight. On the morning of December 14, 1986, the Voyager took off on the history making flight. Nine days, three minutes and 44 seconds later, Rutan successfully completed the six year quest. The Voyager is now suspended in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. For this accomplishment, Dick was awarded Presidential Citizen’s Medal of Honor. Dick Rutan now travels the world telling the Voyager story, which is often referred to as “aviation’s last first.”