Rutan’s Proteus logs 1,000th flight
The Scaled Model 281 Proteus, recently completed its 1,000th flight, flown by Scaled’s test pilot Clint Nichols, with project engineer Sam Henney in the right-hand seat. Proteus was designed by Burt Rutan and first flew on 26 July 1998. Its original mission was to test the aircraft as a high altitude ‘communications satellite’ – the first attempt at delivering a broadband internet connection to the masses, twenty years ago. It proved to be a very versatile high altitude, long endurance research platform and has logged more than 4,000 hours on missions for many programmes.
Weird, yes: but like so many Rutan designs, rather wonderful