First Fly-in of Spring


Despite the forty feet of snow in the mountains above our home, despite this week’s northeastern snowstorm, despite the fact that it is mid-March (and my upper midwestern roots and sensibilities say that snow can easily fall into May), the fact that I attended my first gathering of planes of the season is a harbinger of spring, as certain as that first confused Robin back when I grew up in Minnesota!

The informal gathering at Inyokern, California has been organized by a friend in the experimental aircraft community around his birthday each year for the past few. Although it seemed a little earlier this year, that worked to everyone’s advantage, as aviators (mostly RV’ers, but a few Rockets, Lancairs and Glasairs as well) found pleasant temperatures and smooth air as they came in from all directions to the northern reaches of the Mojave desert to talk airplanes and eat ice cream.

Normally a morning affair that sees people saddle up to head home first thing in the afternoon as the wind comes up, this year saw the calm air stay throughout the day, and the temperatures were very un-desert like as well. Numerous rows of airplanes built up as pilots arrived from everywhere between San Diego and Northern California. Aside from the consumption of ice cream, there were no planned activities – so we did what we all do best, swapped lies about airplanes and talked of adventures past—and the season yet to come. It doesn’t get much better than that.

The year will go quickly—find some local events to share the companionship of other builders and aviators, and don’t let the fun pass you by! Our next big event will be Sun ‘n Fun—I hope to see all the fine denizens of HBC there in a few weeks.

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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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