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Brian Binnie to Replace Rutan at Friday's Wright Brothers Banquet

Brian Binnie
Brian Binnie

December 11, 2007 — EAA has been informed that, due to illness, Burt Rutan will be unable to attend EAA's annual Wright Brothers Banquet in Oshkosh this Friday, December 14. He had been scheduled to deliver the keynote address.

In his place will be pilot Brian Binnie, who flew SpaceShipOne's Ansari X Prize-winning flight in October 2004. Binnie's flight won the $10 million X Prize for successful civilian space flight. He will bring his personal experience as one of just two successful civilian astronauts who flew in the SpaceShipOne program.

Binnie will also speak on how his personal dreams played out during the SpaceShipOne program; some of the personal and technical challenges to such flights; and their influence on the next generation of space adventurers and space tourism.

"We're sorry that Burt cannot join us this year, and EAAers everywhere wish him a speedy recovery," said Tom Poberezny, EAA president. "We're pleased that Brian Binnie will be able to help us celebrate the anniversary of powered flight."

The Wright Brothers Memorial Banquet at EAA commemorates the anniversary of man's first successful powered flight. That accomplishment by Orville and Wilbur Wright at Kitty Hawk, N.C., on Dec. 17, 1903, began more than a century of innovation that has made flight commonplace and achievements such as space exploration possible.

In addition to the Ansari X Prize-winning flight, Binnie made the first supersonic flight in SpaceShipOne on Dec. 17, 2003. He works closely with Rutan in the ongoing test flying work at Rutan's company, Scaled Composites of Mojave, California. Binnie also gained a measure of celebrity following the record-setting flights as part of the "Man Law: Men of the Square Table" television ads for Miller Lite beer.

More details on the annual Wright Brothers Memorial banquet are available at www.airventuremuseum.org.

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