Rutan Starship prototype demise photo


Jay Scheevel
 

Hi All,

 

At the Spring Fling, I shared a short story over lunch with Nathan Peck concerning the violent demise of the Scaled Composites 80% scale Starship prototype.

 

Just by coincidence, I just happened to personally witness this event, in person at Mojave, and… I had my camera in hand. 

 

Here is a photo that I took that day. This scene occurred just off the ramp and directly in front of Scaled Composites hangar, and no one at Scaled knew this was going to happen.

 

Beechcraft was determined to teach Burt Rutan a lesson. They still owned the prototype and it sat without flying in a hangar at Mojave.  Burt wanted to Beech to sell it for him to use as a personal aircraft.  Beechcraft sent an emphatic, non-verbal “No Way!!”, and this was the result.

 

I sent this photo to Burt because he told me that he did not have photos of this incident.  I am not sure if he still has this photo, but perhaps it will show up in his biography someday.

 

Cheers,

Jay

 


Jerry Marstall
 

Spite is an awful emotion. 


On Thu, Jun 9, 2022, 12:28 PM Jay Scheevel <jay@...> wrote:

Hi All,

 

At the Spring Fling, I shared a short story over lunch with Nathan Peck concerning the violent demise of the Scaled Composites 80% scale Starship prototype.

 

Just by coincidence, I just happened to personally witness this event, in person at Mojave, and… I had my camera in hand. 

 

Here is a photo that I took that day. This scene occurred just off the ramp and directly in front of Scaled Composites hangar, and no one at Scaled knew this was going to happen.

 

Beechcraft was determined to teach Burt Rutan a lesson. They still owned the prototype and it sat without flying in a hangar at Mojave.  Burt wanted to Beech to sell it for him to use as a personal aircraft.  Beechcraft sent an emphatic, non-verbal “No Way!!”, and this was the result.

 

I sent this photo to Burt because he told me that he did not have photos of this incident.  I am not sure if he still has this photo, but perhaps it will show up in his biography someday.

 

Cheers,

Jay

 


Frankenbird Vern
 

 There is a story behind the story too, Jerry. I was in Department 123 at Beech in Plant 4 in 1981 when the original Dallas airshow "bondo monster" as we called it was still secret.  I was on the shop benches on the R&D side of the program to the point NC3 was flying.  We knew the Rutan team well in the plant.  Did anyone here know that Burt was married to one of the Beech daughters? How about the many test panels we made which were 1/4" thick and the work order was NOT Starship?  Actually it was Voyager, but we were told "not to worry about it, just make the parts". 

 There were plenty of stupid decisions made on the program..one of the worst was Olive Ann Beech herself dictating the NO airplane on Beech field would have "jet engines".. Beech airplanes all have propellers!!!   

 Owner of NC53, Bob Scherer wrote to me a few times. He lives not far from Jay in Colorado. Bob has the photos of the "next Gen" Starship model which was GE turbine powered, not PT6A. One of the topics Bob and I spoke about was if the surviving members of the Starship days could convey the inside story it might be an interesting book to aviators. Bob bought all the rights when Beech imploded.. all the tooling, Engineering, and a warehouse full of new parts. He is the sole source of parts for the 5 airworthy examples still in operation. 
  
 Burt needed access to the Beech autoclaves in Plant 3 which at the time were top of the line. Later we used the Autoclaves to build Premier and Horizon. Some C-17 parts were also run through them. Lot of memories. Some good and others not so good. 

 I am NOT stating the terrible way that Scaled was treated was justified..because it wasn't. But you see..after the divorce there was a vengeance motive as well. Raytheon hated the Starship..as much as we loved her. 4 Billion down the drain. Stupid mistakes made by chair farters that understood little to nothing of what Burt and John Roncz were trying to get across to them.  

  Years later as a Contractor there were many evenings when at lunchtime I would go out to the ramp at Plant 1 and simply put my hand our "mule" Starship. I told her one night that no matter what, we would always have her in our hearts no matter how much the Corporate assholes hated her. Damn their hydes!

Vern   


From: main@Q-List.groups.io <main@Q-List.groups.io> on behalf of Jerry Marstall <jerrylm1986@...>
Sent: Thursday, June 9, 2022 3:32 PM
To: Q-list <main@q-list.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [Q-List] Rutan Starship prototype demise photo
 
Spite is an awful emotion. 

On Thu, Jun 9, 2022, 12:28 PM Jay Scheevel <jay@...> wrote:

Hi All,

 

At the Spring Fling, I shared a short story over lunch with Nathan Peck concerning the violent demise of the Scaled Composites 80% scale Starship prototype.

 

Just by coincidence, I just happened to personally witness this event, in person at Mojave, and… I had my camera in hand. 

 

Here is a photo that I took that day. This scene occurred just off the ramp and directly in front of Scaled Composites hangar, and no one at Scaled knew this was going to happen.

 

Beechcraft was determined to teach Burt Rutan a lesson. They still owned the prototype and it sat without flying in a hangar at Mojave.  Burt wanted to Beech to sell it for him to use as a personal aircraft.  Beechcraft sent an emphatic, non-verbal “No Way!!”, and this was the result.

 

I sent this photo to Burt because he told me that he did not have photos of this incident.  I am not sure if he still has this photo, but perhaps it will show up in his biography someday.

 

Cheers,

Jay