Spirit of Flight

Joe Sobczak, Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP).

Every year the Society of Experimental Test Pilots present the Spirit of Flight Award in recognition of outstanding work in the field of homebuilt flight testing or flight safety. Traditionally, this award has been given to individuals, but at Airventure 2019, they broke the mold and presented the award to the EAA Homebuilt Council in recognition of the effort put in to developing, producing ,and distributing the EAA Flight Test manual (FTM) and the associated Flight Test Data Cards. The FTM has been in development for over ten years, and because this has spanned the membership of many council members, Vic Syracuse, current Chairman of the HAC, accepted the award on the behalf of ALL the council members – and other volunteers – that have worked on the FTM over the years.

The FTM is a comprehensive flight test program for EAB aircraft that provides detailed instruction on planning specific tests, how to fly them, and what to do with the data when it has ben obtained, the goal of the EAA in producing the FTM is to help builders prepare better (and more complete) Pilot Operating Handbooks as a result of their Phase 1 testing.

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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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