CDA Library to Celebrate Aeronautical Work and Decorated History of Burt Rutan

By Tom Bacon

The Coeur d' Alene public library hopes to raise some money by showcasing a guy who could have written the book on thinking outside the box.

Not many people have five airplanes - and spaceships - that they've designed and built on display in the National Air and Space Museum. But Burt Rutan does.

Not many people have been honored with the Presidential Citizen's Medal, the Charles Lindbergh Award or named one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people in the world. Burt Rutan has.

And only one person has won the Ansari X-Prize, a 10-million dollar purse for designing and building the first private craft to reach space. Burt Rutan.

He and his brother Dick also designed and built the first airplane to fly around the world without stopping and without refueling. Rutan, now 70, has retired from the company he started and ran for more than four decades and makes his home in Coeur d' Alene.

The Coeur d' Alene library has persuaded Rutan to be the centerpiece of a gala evening on October 18th. Some of his aeronautical work will be exhibited at the function. His airplanes look like fanciful creations from sci-fi comic books - tails in the front, engines in the back, wings swept forward. Ruth Pratt, who is executive director of the Coeur d' Alene Library Foundation, said the event is an opportunity for people in the area to meet a very special individual.
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