There aren’t many aircraft that can literally stop traffic, but the praying mantis shape of the giant composite lifter literally does just that. No one ever figured out what to do about it, though.
Giving it a name for a mythological Greek sea god who could change appearance at will, Burt Rutan originally designed Proteus as a high-altitude, long-operation, optionally piloted telecommunications platform. Its design mission included carrying an 18-foot-diameter telecom antenna system to provide high-speed internet over major cities. Proteus was to be the first of a series of aircraft built by Scaled Technology Works of Montrose, Colorado (a Scaled Composites spinoff company that eventually closed). But by the time Proteus was developed, telecom companies became more interested in ground-based fiber-optic systems. Lacking commercial interest, Scaled Technology Works built only one Proteus. But its story was far from done.