SkiGull First Flight

SkiGull’s First Flight and an Update from Burt

| antennaFILMS

Burt Rutan’s SkiGull successfully took to the air for the first time from Coeur d’Alene Airport in northern Idaho in late November. “We’ve learned a hell of a lot today that I can check off ‘these are not problems’” a delighted Rutan said in a celebratory toast in front of crew and family following SkiGull’s first flight.

Burt also acknowledged that there’s still plenty of work to do before he can call SkiGull a finished product. He’s got to get the skis to work.

“If I stop, all I’ve got is just another seaplane. I don’t have something that’s a research breakthrough. And that’s what I’m after. I’m seriously after something that we’ll look back and say, ‘what this airplane is and is able to do, in terms of operating in beaches, rough water, and have the kind of capabilities that it has, is not just something a little better than the best floatplane, but something that is really truly breakthrough in nature.’”

SkiGull, which is to be the last plane Burt will build, spent over an hour and a half in the air with seasoned test pilot Glenn Smith at the helm. Photographer and aviation journalist Mike Satren was on hand and provides a remarkably detailed account of the first flight here.


Test pilot Glenn Smith reports the first flight tests confirmed SkiGull to be dynamically and positively stable in each axis. Burt was also pleased with the speed and stability of the aircraft, as it underwent testing in both cruising and landing configurations.

Burt is spending the Idaho winter perfecting the aircraft, including adjustments to the wing-stall buffeting, pitot tube, and nose-low water tendencies, as well as installation of new landing gear skis.

11 Responses to “SkiGull’s First Flight and an Update from Burt”

  1. John Ylinen

    When is the video that was part of the Kickstarter going to be released. Would be nice to get the whole story in film?

    • Scott B

      We’re still filming. The test flights will continue in the Spring. The whole story of SkiGull will be part of the film. Looking Up, Way Up! covers the entire life and career of Burt Rutan. We’re continuing to capture and gather material for it and are looking forward to letting everyone know when it will come out.

  2. James Traynor

    Very nice plane, way to go Burt!!!!! I like the style and shape. It would be a fun kit if someone did the molds and sold it as a kit. I hope to see the plane at Arlington fly-in this year. Looking foreword to seeing the construction video. How it is time to fly the new plane

  3. Kevin Bell

    Looks good can it be scaled down living on a river with a two mile
    straight piece in my front yard ,I only need a two seater to jump
    into the air and escape

    • antennaFILMS

      TBD. It will depend on the results of the upcoming water tests.

  4. serge

    Time to recognize Burt Rutan as a true Artist of Flight and Freedom.

    A true Engineer in the deepest sense, always looking to push further the frontiers of engineering.

    Thank you Burt for your spirit and guidance.

    • antennaFILMS

      It’s coming along. Burt needed to modify his landing strategy after what he learned from the first flight. Update coming in a bit…

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