Test pilots Dick Rutan and Brian Binnie, whose exploits have helped open outer space to commercial travel, land at SMU for the Tate Distinguished Lecture Series at 8 p.m. Nov. 6 in McFarlin Auditorium. They will speak in place of Dick’s brother, aerospace engineer Burt Rutan, who for medical reasons is unable to attend.
Dick Rutan was the pilot of Voyager, which in December 1986 set the record for a non-stop, non-refueled flight around the world. He made the trip in 9 days, 3 minutes and 44 seconds – a mark that stands to this day. Brian Binnie completed the first and last powered flights of SpaceShipOne, which in 2004 was the first manned spacecraft to exceed an altitude of 328,000 feet twice within the span of a 14-day period. Both pilots work with Burt Rutan’s company, Scaled Composites, LLC, an aerospace and specialty composites development company located in Mojave, California.
Rutan and Binnie will answer questions from SMU and local high school students in the Turner Construction Student Forum at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 6 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom. Faculty and staff members are invited to attend. Learn more at smu.edu/tate.