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Dick Rutan, KB6LQS, Record-Setting Pilot, SK


Lt. Col. Richard “Dick” G. Rutan, KB6LQS, has become a Silent Key. He passed away at the age of 85 on May 3, 2024, surrounded by family. Rutan was an ARRL member.

In 1986, Rutan made international headlines for his flight in Voyager with copilot Jeana Yeager. The pair flew around the world (nonstop and unrefueled) in 9 days, 3 minutes, and 44 seconds.

Rutan was a United States Air Force combat pilot in Vietnam, where he flew 325 combat missions and was awarded the Silver Star, the Purple Heart, the Air Medal with three silver oak leaf clusters on it. He was also awarded with the Distinguished Flying Cross twice. Rutan was part of an elite group of airmen who served as fast-forward air controllers, loitering over enemy aircraft for hours at a time.

His civilian test pilot career had him flying everything from military jets to rocket-powered airplanes, in which he set speed records. He was a recipent of the Collier Trophy. In his final years, Rutan was still serving as a test pilot. He flew four flights in the test program for his brother, Burt Rutan’s, latest design: the SkiGull. In 2022, Mojave Air & Space Port in Mojave, California, was renamed Mojave Air & Space Port at Rutan Field in honor of the brothers’ contributions.



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