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!