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Wed, Jul 13, 2005

The OTHER Parabolic Flight Profile -- Golf With Rutan And Binnie

Auction Supports "Gathering of Eagles" Non-Profit

Want to play golf with Burt Rutan and Brian Binnie? EAA has a way for you to hang out and golf with them during Oshkosh. (People have time for GOLF during Oshkosh?)

Personally, I never considered a golf course useful for much more than an emergency landing field. But I understand that a lot of aviators actually go and beat a little white ball (or a succession of them) around the course in a waste of a perfectly good flying day. Two of those flying golfers are Burt Rutan and Brian Binnie.

In case you just got interested in aviation this week, or are kind of crummy at remembering names, Burt Rutan is the principle creator of White Knight and SpaceShip One (as well as over 300 other projects, ranging from the revolutionary Vari-Viggen and EZ homebuilts to the world-circling Voyager and Global aircraft, to still-classified military stuff) and head of Scaled Composites and the Mojave Aerospace Ventures team that won the Ansari X-Prize.

Brian Binnie is a former Naval aviator, a Scaled test pilot and engineer, and one of a handful of men to fly SpaceShipOne. He's also one of the two pilots to win the Ansari X-Prize and his commercial astronaut wings (the other was Mike Melvill).

The golf dates are auctioned to high bidders (hey, they're trying to raise money here), which means that those of us employed in aviation might as well give up now. The auction's already underway (yes, we WERE caught napping) but you still have time to stick a bid in -- it concludes Friday, the 15th.

The money supports Gathering of Eagles, which "supports education, historic preservation, and the inspirational endeavors that prepare youths of all backgrounds to become innovators, engineers, astronauts, entrepreneurs, dreamers... the aviation pioneers of tomorrow."

Some of the specific programs Gathering of Eagles supports include Young Eagles, the EAA Museum, Air Academy aviation camp and EAA's educational outreach, which aims to "give schools the tools to increase achievement in math and science using flight."

One package begins early: you travel to Whistling Straits with Rutan and Binnie for an 8:20 tee time at the Blackwolf Run course. Then you lunch with the two celebrities (and settle any wagers, perhaps) and return to the AirVenture grounds. The second package begins with lunch with Rutan and Binnie and then makes a 3:50 tee time at the Whistling Straits course.

Will they see you on the links? Well, what's it worth to you?

FMI: http://airventure.org/auction/

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