AirVenture in the Mirrors


As I pushed the throttle in, lifted off of Wittman Field’s runway 36(L) and pulled in to a right turn for a heading of 150, I caught a glimpse of AirVenture 2017 in the glare shield mirrors. Vibrant, full of airplanes, and crawling with people, the festivities would last two more full days, but my head and memory cards were full, and it was time to head west. Looking ahead, I picked out the three cub-like airplanes between me and the seaplane base, leveled off at 500′ AGL and felt the acceleration that made those cubs look like stars in a special-effects hyper-speed sequence as I went by them on the right. It was another beautiful morning in Wisconsin!

The show was great, and it was full–and I know there were so many people I wanted to meet, greet, and talk with, but kept missing in the frenetic compressed timespan of a week. There’s always next year, and other shows–but I apologize to those whose stories I didn’t have time to hear. And there are many!

There are also many cool airplanes, and here are pictures of a few to look for in coming issues of Kitplanes–a sneak peak at our editorial calendar. I personally got to fly something old and something new. The old–a Durand Mark V is a modern/retro biplane with quirks, but some interesting ideas. The new–the latest from Zenith, a heavy hauler that revolutionizes the cockpit by doing away with the instrument panel. Others flew some sexy airplanes we’ll be reporting on–the new Tarragon, (flying 200 mph on a Rotax 914TC with a tandem cockpit) and the one of a kind (but not for long!) Jet-Eze that is ripping up the skies of Florida.

Photos by Richard VanderMeulen.

Durand Mark V

Our team of Kitplanes contributors collected these and a host of other interesting stories in our week at the Big Show, and we look forward to a great year ahead. If you’re not a subscriber, you’ll be missing out!

Zenith CH 750 SD

Keep on building, keep on flying–and we’ll see you around at an airfield… somewhere.

Jet Eze
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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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