08 September 2009

Burt Rutan and his company Scaled Composites were hired by Beech Aircraft in 1982 to build a five-eighths scale prototype of the Beech Starship. Based on the layout of his successful VariEze/Long-EZ kitplanes, Rutan became a vice president at Beech and even married the daughter of one of the aircraft company's executives.

Given the FAA's relative inexperience in certifying carbon-fiber composite aircraft at the time, once the prototype had been scaled up to a production article its performance fell below expectations and only 24 were built. The Starship would be the only Rutan design to achieve series production.

And his marriage? It was his third and it only lasted 20 months. By 1988 Rutan and Scaled Composites ended their relationship as well with Beech Aircraft.

Source: Aviation History, November 2009. "Top Pencil: Maverick Airplane Designer Burt Rutan Doesn't Just Think Outside the Box; He Completely Destroys It and Starts Anew" by Peter Garrison, p28-29.

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