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  • Ryszard Zadow

RAFE mourns the loss of Dick Rutan.


In the darkness of early Saturday morning my phone buzzed. I was not ready to get out of bed that early, but wasn’t fast asleep either. Reluctantly I picked the phone up and saw the message that now everyone knows. Rest in Peace Dick Rutan.


Certainly, all types of enthusiasts gather to enjoy the camaraderie of their special interest. Airplanes, motorcycles, classic cars, you name it, there are events small and large that band these people together. Rutan aircraft designs are so unique, however, that even in the small world of aviation people have a hard time understanding what makes the canard community so tight. The connection we all have with the Rutan brothers is something difficult to describe. To us “Canardians” the connection is about sharing our passion and love of aviation, and specifically, canard aviation while in the shadow of such great achievers as the Rutan brothers.


As the old saying goes, Leadership starts at the top. We are unique because our leaders are unique. Dick Rutan touched the souls of so many people, especially Pilots, because he was a Pilots pilot. Even though Dick was one of those legendary aviators that I viewed like he was ten feet tall, whenever I had a chance to chat with Dick, not once did I ever feel any other feeling than we were just two Pilots talking about flying. When a person who has achieved greatness can still interact with others as if they were just another person, that unique quality, is what makes great men, great.


Sincerely,

Ryszard Zadow

President, RAFE

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5 Comments


leobrosche
5 days ago

I first met Dick at Oshkosh in 1975. I watched as they repaired the Varieze after a nose gear problem. I attended Burts forum on the Vari-eze and waited for plans to become available. I was one of the early builders. Watching for first flights in the Canard Pusher Newsletter, I believe mine was the eight one to fly. Being part of the canard crowd, Dick and Burt were part of our lives and we watched for any new adventures that Burt and Dick were a part of. We are all getting older and now at 77, we watch as a new breed of builders and flyers come along and wonder if any will ever surpass the achievements of these…

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majurpain
May 06

Well said, Sarge.


Nickel on the grass.


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Alejandro Irausquin
Alejandro Irausquin
May 06

I have been in touch with Kelly Hall, Dick's collaborator for several years now. I wrote to her on saturday to let her know that she was being cloned at FB. Her reply was a single line "Dick passed away yesterday". What a terrible way to start your day...

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Clinton Hurst
Clinton Hurst
May 06

Oh no! RIP Dick! Thanks for letting me fly you around several yrs ago at Mojave and signing my log book. It was a pleasure to meet and fly with you! You will be missed Captain!

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Cameron Garner
Cameron Garner
May 06

Likewise sad to hear of the passing of one of aviation's true greats.

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