Meeting the Original

Dave Martin and Paul Dye.

We were lucky to have the opportunity to attend the recent solar eclipse at a point almost directly under the totality path, and doubly lucky because we were hosted by the former Editor in Chief of Kitplanes Magazine, David Martin. Dave and his wife Lois live tat the Independence Airpark in Oregon, and I was invited to speak at their annual fly-in that happened to coincide with the once (or twice) in a lifetime total eclipse opportunity.

Dave edited the magazine for about 17 years, from its very start until about ten years ago, when he retired. He recently sold his most latest airplane, an RV-12, but he is still active in the flying community, current in gliders and always looking for something to fly. His hangar is fully populated with R/C airplanes and helicopters – along with other interesting model projects and HAM  radio gear. The morning of the eclipse saw him tagging up with other radio operators across the globe, so no one can accuse him of post-retirement isolationism.

It was great to catch up on the early history of the magazine, and to finally meet the man who set the standards we continue to strive to uphold. The magazine’s emphasis has always been on homebuilt aircraft, but homebuilt aircraft and kits have evolved quite a bit over the years. Early kit aircraft were generally lighter and simpler, with many of them belonging to the ultralight community, whereas today’s emphasis is on the E-AB scene with larger, heavier, and more capable traveling machines. But its all flying, and that’s all good!

In our two days of  bumping around the fly-in, I even pointed out a few interesting local airplanes that need to have stories written about them – so maybe we’ll see Dave back in the magazine on occasion. At least, I hope so!

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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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