Passing the Baton

Paul Dye
Paul Dye

About six and a half years ago, I looked around my cleaned-up NASA office, wrote “So long, and thanks for all the fish,” and walked out the door, wondering what my next adventure would be like. I was privileged to have lead human space flights for America for close to 20 years, and it was hard to imagine I’d enjoy anything as much. But then the call came from KITPLANES owners, asking if I’d step into the role of editor in chief, a job for which I had no experience in aviation journalism other than submitting my monthly columns and occasional features and flight reviews. That was OK they said – “you know Experimental aviation… we have people who can do the editing!”

I figured I could keep the world fooled for two years before they threw me out, but its been something like 78 issues in a row that have had my name at the top of the masthead, and I am tired of waiting to be found out. In a happy sequence of events, a man stepped forth with the experience, background, and time to help me through this little problem, so starting with the October issue of the magazine (which in this timeframe, is right now…), Marc Cook will be returning to the pages of KITPLANES as Editor in Chief while I step into another role to help him keep the magazine “Your Homebuilt Aviation Authority.”

In the great big world of Experimental aviation, there are airplanes to fly, and stories to tell… and I plan to keep on flying, and telling those tales. But I am going to do it with a new title, and less worry about monthly deadlines. As of this week, I am now the editor at large, a somewhat honorary title they have given me so that I can stick around and do what I like – while getting rid of the jobs I don’t – or more accurately, those jobs that take time away from other things I’d like to be doing.

No, I am not going away, but my time commitment will be less, and the ship is Marc’s to steer. We have a great many outstanding contributors – both regular and “on occasion” writers – and they are what makes this publication great. Those of us on the masthead are here to herd the cats and keep the pigeons lined up in neat rows, and I know that the editorial staff will keep on doing that with Marc back at the helm.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as editor in chief, mostly because of the opportunities it has given me to meet so many great people in this madness we call homebuilding. I’ve gotten to fly so many airplanes I have lost track of them all – but I see many more in my future if I can keep my nose clean (and keep my hand up in front of Marc as a volunteer), and even more important, I hope to continue meeting builders and pilots from all walks of life who enjoy the world of Experimentals. I’m sure you’ll see some changes for the better here on the website and in the pages of the magazine – fresh ideas and new blood can do that – but you’ll probably still me wandering around the big shows looking for stories to tell, and airplanes to fly.

So… see you in Oshkosh!

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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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