The Innovator

Via Out Of Control, the story of Burt Rutan and SpaceShipOne:

Rutan woke up one morning six years ago at his desert home in Mojave, Calif., with a heat-beating idea no one had considered before: Why not build a space plane with wings that hinge up at its highest altitude, creating a feathering effect so it floats gently back to Earth like a shuttlecock in a game of badminton? Rutan quickly sketched out his idea and started showing it around.

The reception was muted. Rutan was widely respected in the experimental-plane-building industry, having designed Voyager, the first aircraft to make it around the world nonstop without refueling, which his brother Dick helped fly into the record books in 1986. But the design for SpaceShipOne inspired near universal derision. "When I first saw it, I thought he'd lost his mind," says Mike Melvill, Rutan's oldest employee, longtime friend and faithful test pilot.

But this quote should go in Bartlett's immediately:

To Rutan, the raised eyebrows proved he was on the right track. "If you don't have a consensus that it's nonsense," says Rutan, "you don't have a breakthrough."

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Burt Rutan is my hero.

Burt Rutan is my hero.

Look what conventional

Look what conventional thinking has accomplished at NASA.

To quote Lindbergh: "There

To quote Lindbergh:

"There must be men of means with enough vision to take the risk involved. The problem is to find them, and to get them to listen to my plan."

We need more people like Rutan.

Well, of course, sometimes

Well, of course, sometimes the consensus is right. :)