Renowned aerospace engineer and aircraft and spaceship designer Burt Rutan saw the successful debut flight in Idaho, USA, on November 23, 2015, of SkiGull, the 47th aircraft to be designed and built by Rutan, or one of his companies.
The newest Rutan aircraft is amphibious with a single wing-mounted piston engine and retractable skis that are fitted with small wheels. This arrangement enables the aircraft to easily operate from hard surfaces or from water. The initial flight test included basic stability and control tests in various configurations.
American Rutan, who retired in 2011, is reported to have worked on SkiGull for 20 months in his garage. “I will finish the modifications and testing needed to determine whether SkiGull can reach the goal of being able to handle rough water, ocean swells, beaching on ocean coasts and operating from snowfields,” he said, before adding that he now plans to enjoy this aircraft firmly from the comfort of his retirement.
Picture credit: Antenna Films.
December 3, 2015