Elbert Leander “Burt” Rutan (; born June 17, 1943) is a retired American aerospace engineer and entrepreneur noted for his originality in designing light, strong, unusual-looking, energy-efficient aircraft. He designed the record-breaking Voyager, which in 1986 was the first plane to fly around the world without stopping or refueling, and the sub-orbital spaceplane SpaceShipOne, which won the Ansari X-Prize in 2004 for becoming the first privately funded spacecraft to enter the realm of space twice within a two-week period. With his VariEze and Long-EZ designs, which first flew in 1975 and 1979 respectively, Rutan is responsible for helping popularize both the canard configuration and the use of moldless composite construction in the homebuilt aircraft industry. He is the founder or co-founder of multiple aerospace companies, including the Rutan Aircraft Factory, Scaled Composites, Mojave Aerospace Ventures, and The Spaceship Company.
Rutan has designed 46 aircraft throughout his career, been included in the Time 100 Most Influential People in the World list for the year 2004, been the co-recipient of both the Collier and National Air and Space Museum trophies on two separate occasions, received six honorary doctoral degrees, and has won over 100 different awards for aerospace design and development. He has five aircraft on display in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., United States: SpaceShipOne, the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer, Voyager, Quickie, and the VariEze.