Beyond Kitty Hawk

Pioneering aircraft design did not end with the brothers Wright. Some of today's most innovative work is being done by designers in their own high-tech skunk works.

BURT RUTAN Airplane kits with nose-mounted wings and no tail that seem to fly backward. Jets with oversize canards mounted, Wright-brothers style, forward of the wings. A spindly, twin-boomed plane that in 1986 was the first to fly around the world without refueling. Aircraft designed by Burt Rutan don't look like other planes. One of the industry's most innovative and influential designers, Rutan has built a pressurized gondola for a round-the-world balloon attempt, a...

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