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Sun, Jul 29, 2012

EAA Honors Aircraft Designer John Dyke

The 50th Anniversary Of The Dyke Delta Design Was Celebrated At EAA's Homebuilt Hangar To Commemorate This Achievement

By Anthony Liberatore

With a number of enthusiast and well wishers were present, volunteers wheeled Dave Williams Dyke Delta N18DW into place in EAA's Homebuilt Hangar to celebrate Dyke Delta Day at AirVenture on Wednesday, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the airplane's first flight. Present in front of Dave's aircraft was none other than Designer John Dyke and Dave Williams. As they begin to discuss Williams' aircraft, both discussed his emergency landing following a crankshaft failure that damaged his Delta and put it in storage for a number of years. The only fatalities in the crash ... as it eventually slid into a chicken coop ... were 2 chickens.

Chad Jensen, EAA's Homebuilders Community Manager, took to the stage for the presentation and said “It is important for EAA to recognize significant people in homebuilders history, and a significant person is standing right next to me, John Dyke. We appreciate you coming out this year. And it is pretty emotional here, I would like to present John with a plaque from EAA that says, John Dyke on the occasion of the 50th anniversary, of Flying and the craftsmanship that created the Dyke Delta.”

Following Jensen's presentation, Williams further elaborated on his Delta, and the building and rebuilding process. Williams said one of the reasons he decided to build the Delta that he lived in El-Paso, TX, at the time, and its oppressive heat. He said he needed something fast to get to someplace cooler. It was an article in Popular Mechanics that brought the Dyke to his attention. At the time, with a stressful job, Williams noted that he needed something for a release, and the Delta was just the ticket. In fact, as a scratch-built, he completed 18DW in two years. But Williams said what he has learned the most about through building is about people, friends, and their attitudes. Williams lamented at the time before Oshkosh forums and all the new media today, the knowledge required to build his Delta all came from books and local support. Williams was trying to instill in the audience that you can do it ... but just remember “to eat an elephant one bite at a time”.

Williams spoke of his desire to restore 18DW after being is storage for 25 years. He said he'd be happey to rebuild it just to get it back in the air.

FMI: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dykedelta/

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