Donuts Are Essential


Anyone who has every seen my presentation on Flight Testing should know that along with a trained pilot, good procedures, and excellent weather, a first flight cannot be performed unless someone has been assigned to bring donuts for the team. Flight test operations run on donuts—they are as essential as fuel. No donuts, no test flight.

This philosophy is represented in the Wednesday tradition of “Homebuilders Donuts” at AirVenture each year. Headquarters Co-chair Mike Dooley kicked things off with a welcome and a warning that these donuts were for homebuilders only; all SPAM-can drivers were to leave the area. One to a customer until all others had been served, and coffee was free as well.

This year’s donuts appeared shortly after a sudden strong storm moved through the area, proving the dedication of the volunteers who make the vent happen. “Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor gloom of night shall stop these donuts from being delivered to waiting mouths.”

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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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