It's Just Homebuilding



Wandering through the Sport class pits this morning, I spotted parts, tools, and paper towels soaked with brake fluid under the left gear leg of the Sport Class match racing pace plane. Attending the minor spill were racers Axel Alvarez and George Ford – both of whom were looking forward to having the plane ready to go so that they could race!

The scene was familiar to any homebuilder whose machine has been flying for awhile – a little brake leak that grows into a big one, and you can’t find the cause directly. After changing an elbow fitting and checking the puck O-rings, they were busy recharging the system as I walked away. Later, I came back to find the wheel pant once again on the ground, and the caliper (disassembled) beside it. Someone was off in search of slightly bigger O-Rings. A typical day in the life of the homebuilder at Reno!

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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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