Paul Dye's SubSonex N958PD: Successful First Flight

N958PD first flight
N958PD first flight

SubSonex Serial #21 (N958PD) made its first flight out of the Dayton Valley Airpark in Nevada on the 24th of March, 2019. Winter kept trying to hang on in the Sierra Nevada mountains, but the weather smiled on us, I had a great crew that made themselves available on short notice, and we got “Loki” off the ground for the first time. Thanks to all, and especially chase pilot extraordinaire Bob Mills, and my wife, Louise Hose, who acted as the airborne test conductor.

Paul Dye with SubSonex kit #21, N958PD.
Paul Dye with SubSonex kit #21, N958PD.

The build took about four months, in total, including paint (executed by airbrush master John Stahr) – a scheme which honors my years in the space program. Overall, the kit quality was high, and very complete – especially for such an early serial number – which made the build go quickly. The PBS TJ100 engine operated flawlessly on every test run and on the first flight, and the MGL avionics package that was custom-tailored to the jet has performed without issues.

In addition to my wife, I want to thank the neighbors at Dayton Valley Airpark who helped out when I needed extra hands, and the folks at Sonex Aircraft who facilitated the build with quick answers to questions along the way. We anticipate an interesting and fun Phase 1 test period.

–Paul Dye, Dayton, Nevada

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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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