Editor’s Log: Crew Change

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We’d rather be flying! Paul Dye (left) and new editor in chief Marc Cook. (Photo: Louise Hose)

I am a firm believer in using all the resources I have available, and in aviation that means if I have a qualified pilot in the other seat, I am going to fly as a two-person crew. Everyone can make mistakes—I know that I sure do—and having someone else to cover the holes in your operation (while you, of course, cover the holes in theirs) makes for a safer and more successful flying environment. Help is always appreciated, even in simple machines, and when things get more complex, it is even more important.

For six and a half years, I have been privileged to lead the team of folks that put KITPLANES® out for our readers every single month. Our editors, layout folks, and webmaster do amazing work with the contributions of the many authors (all of whom are builders and pilots) that make up the KITPLANES® family. I didn’t start out wanting to run a magazine, and it took a little convincing to get this spaceship driver to realize that with the right help, we could actually get a magazine out on time and with content that people wanted to read. And I have to say, I have had a blast doing it!

Change, however, is something we must not only embrace, but look for in order to keep things fresh and new. In the interest of keeping KITPLANES® at the leading edge of the homebuilding movement, I have always been looking toward the future to make sure that we have a plan to continue growing in readership and service to the industry. It is ironic then—and most welcome—that the newest change at our publication is the return of a man from our past who will slip back into the front seat and help guide the magazine in the years to come.

Marc Cook, former editor in chief, is once again going to hold that position here, as I step into the role of editor at large. What does that mean to the average reader? Well, we’re going from a single-pilot operation to a crew cockpit that will hopefully be able to search out even more interesting stories for you each month. It means that I can spend a little more time out in the field looking for interesting airplanes and designs, and Marc can lead the team to collect material, prepare the product, and get the magazine out to our tens of thousands of readers.

It means that with more people watching over things, the website can grow and provide more immediate information and feedback to and from the homebuilding community. It also means that with more folks looking over the field, we can collect more and better articles for our readers to absorb each month. (And, of course, it means that I can finally take one or two of those vacation trips I always keep putting off because the magazine has to get out the door every single month.)

Airshow coverage sponsor:

While you’ll now see Marc’s name here on the “Editor’s Log” page, you’ll still see my own ramblings now and again in my own column, in flight reviews, and in other articles of interest. I’m not going away! I still have a hangar full of airplanes and projects to maintain and finish, and while the folks producing the magazine will still have (metaphorical) ink-stained hands, I’ll still be staining mine with axle grease and epoxy as I stay deeply involved (and share that involvement) in experimental aviation.

As editor at large, you’ll still see me roaming the grounds at AirVenture (and other events) with a KITPLANES® shirt, looking for people and airplanes to meet. I hope to be able to spend a little more time with everyone now that I don’t have to worry about a monthly production schedule. I might even have time to sit for a few minutes under the shade of a wing and enjoy watching an airshow with friends old and new.

And in the end, while this passion for aviation appears to be all about airplanes, it truly comes down to the friends we make of the people that we meet. I have been fortunate to run into thousands of folks that now know who I am and a little about the airplanes I build and fly. It is now time for me to spend more time with all of you to learn more about your planes and passions—and I can do that better from a new vantage point.

A two-person cockpit is better equipped to provide a quality ride for passengers, and having Marc back running the day-to-day operations while I comment on the state of experimental aviation and enjoy hanging around airplanes should give KITPLANES® a new boost of energy as we get ready to cross into the “twenty-twenties.” We’ll have the same great team backing up the editor’s chair as we have in the past, and we’ll still be looking for fresh and interesting contributions from our readers and regulars. I look forward to working with Marc, just as I enjoyed working with him before I jumped in this seat.

Just as in a cockpit, I am frankly happy in either the left or right seat—as long as I get a nice view out the window and a chance to wiggle the stick around now and again.

Welcome back Marc—you’ve got the airplane!

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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 that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra they completed. Currently, they are building a Xenos motorglider. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 5000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor, as well as 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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