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  • Ryszard Zadow

2024 Rutan Reunion Flight: Meet Steve Sorenson and his Pacific Ocean crossing Defiant!

One of my favorite stories is “Across the Pacific”, a documentary series about Juan Tripp and the early days of Pan American Airlines. It describes how Juan acheived his dream of connecting the world with aviation. His biggest challenge was how to cross the Pacific. At the time, people told him it couldn’t be done. No aircraft had the range to do it but Juan Tripp hired Sikorsky to modify its large flying boats to help Pan Am be the first to provide air travel across the Pacific.

Steve Sorenson also had the dream of crossing the Pacific. Steve had already built a Varieze and flew it a lot. While enjoying his Varieze he decided to act on his dream of flying an airplane he built to Australia. Fortunately for him, Burt Rutan designed the ideal aircraft to help Steve achieve his dream, the Defiant.

Steve started on a path that took him 21 years but when he finished, he made up for those years of hard work by using this incredible airplane to achieve his dream.  

This is a classic example of how anyone can accomplish their dream as long as they never give up on that dream. Proof is in Steve Sorenson’s accomplishments and no one say’s it as profoundly and humbly as Steve Sorenson himself. Meet Steve Sorenson and his Defiant.

 Stephen Sorenson, Defiant N57KS builder and pilot


Defiant N57KS (Twin Puffin) was constructed from Burt Rutan’s plans over a period of 21 years. It’s first flight was in 2005.  The aircraft was constructed by Stephen Sorenson.  The Twin Puffin was built very close to Rutan’s plans with the exception of downdraft cooling on both engines.  It is powered by two Lycoming O320s of 160 HP each and uses Hertzler silver bullet propellers.  The Defiant is a traveling machine.  The Twin Puffin has been flown coast to coast in the US 4 times, to Alaska three times (as far north as Point Barrow), the Bahamas 6 times, and across the Pacific to Australia and New Zealand and back.  The Puffin has been at Oshkosh every year since 2006 with the acceptation of 2010 when it was in Australia. 


Steve and his Defiant are part of the 2024 AirVenture "Burt Rutan Day" and will be on display on Boeing Plaza Monday, July 22nd. Stop by and meet Steve. Hear about his adventures with Twin Puffin. His enthusiasm for his dream is contagious, let some rub off on you so you too will never give up on your dream!

See you at OSH!

Rysard Zadow,

President, RAFE.

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