Thanks to the ultra-efficient Voyager, the hybrid-electric BiPod and the fact that he is in the process of building a 31-acre photovoltaic solar farm in the California desert, Mr Rutan is occasionally mistaken for an environmentalist.
It is an accusation he is quick to deny. “I drove an electric car for seven years because of its advanced technology, not because I have any concerns about energy resources,” he says. “I have none at all. And when environmentalists say that global warming is dangerous, unprecedented and that we’ll have a tipping point for atmospheric carbon dioxide, it’s just nonsense.”