A Notable Retirement

Chuck Preston is the longest serving employee at KITPLANES.


Our loyal readers can probably identify our lineup of regular contributors—builders, pilots, and designers of homebuilt aircraft. But they probably don’t know the name of the longest (by far) serving employee at KITPLANES—Chuck Preston. Chuck has been the marketing director, selling ads and dealing with shows and events, for almost as long as the magazine has been in existence. He has outlasted (at last count) at least five editors in chief, and I was pleased to have him here when I signed on so that he could introduce me around and show me the ropes. You see, even though readers might not recognize the name, Chuck knows just about everyone in the experimental aircraft industry. He knows the history of every kit, engine, and accessory manufacturer. He can recall aircraft that I have never heard of. And most importantly, Chuck kept the promise he made to me on day one of my tenure.

“Paul,” he told me when he introduced himself, “I promise you that I will never ask you to alter editorial content to satisfy an advertiser. If you write the truth and an advertiser is upset and cancels his business with us, I’ll just have to find another advertiser to take his place.” Chuck is like that—and no surprise, for he’s a straightforward Minnesotan at heart, growing up in St. Paul. I am always comfortable with Chuck because I grew up in a suburb just a few miles away.

Chuck was a valuable member of our team here at KITPLANES, and we could never have brought you the stories we have without his efforts to sell a few ads to pay for the paper. He retired at the end of 2018 (as I am writing this), and I am hoping that he finally has some time to do a little relaxing; you see, the thing about being part of a monthly magazine team is that management expects you to do one every single month! Almost 35 years times 12 issues adds up—especially when you never get to take a break. I half expect him to show up at Sun ‘n Fun out of shear habit! But he’s earned his retirement, just as he has earned our thanks and respect.

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Paul Dye
Paul Dye, KITPLANES® Editor at Large, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the Space Shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 and SubSonex jet that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra and an electric Xenos motorglider they completed. Currently, they are building an F1 Rocket. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 6000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, FAA DAR, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor; he was formerly a member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.


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