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. Continue reading "Paul Dye's SubSonex N958PD: Successful First Flight"

It's a Plane!

Gerry Rose of the Reno FSDO with Paul Dye and his SubSonex jet

There's a new jet in town - N958PD, the Subsonex kit formerly known as "the project" received its airworthiness certificate today after a thorough inspection by Inspector Gerry Rose of the Reno FSDO, thereby officially becoming an airplane. It was a pleasure working with Gerry, who exemplifies an attitude of civil service that I wish would be copied by everyone that works for the public. He did not only a great inspection of the airframe for me (finding a couple of hardware nits that we all had missed), but his preparation of the paperwork was top notch. He worked hard to make sure that we had all of the possible permissions we could get in our Operating Limitations, and a test area large enough to give us numerous landing areas for the jet in our desolate part of the world. And although that test area includes the restricted areas servicing NAS Fallon, we think we'll stay well clear of the Top Gun students based there - we might be a jet, but we don't have the armament... Continue reading "It's a Plane!"

Engine Day!

SubSonex turbojet engine

I know that "Kneeboard Notes" is supposed to be about flying as well as building--but winter weather seems to have settled into our little valley on the eastern side of the Sierra, and this week has presented low clouds, snow, freezing mist--all of those things that tell you not to open the hangar door. But that's OK - there's lots of building on on in the shop. Today, however, in addition to building we spent all day keeping an eye out for the FedEx truck because it was Engine Day! Engine Day - the special holiday celebrated by all homebuilders when a package worth at least a third of the completed aircraft arrives. In our case - more like 50%... Continue reading "Engine Day!"

And we're off!

Subsonex Jet ruddervator clecoed

Yes--the new kit is here! Our Subsonex project got underway just this weekend, starting with a complete inventory (of a very complete kit). With all of the bits and pieces stored away in ways that they can be found, I opened the plans to a reasonable place to start, and pulled out the parts for the stabilizers. My first impression was "wow - this is amazing". My second impression was "Wow - this is going to go together fast!" All parts are match-hole construction - that means that you can grab a handful of silver clecos and fasten ribs to spars, and skins to ribs, all without pulling out a drill. Continue reading "And we're off!"

Building a Jet

SubSonex jet

"If you don't do it this year, you'll be one year older when you do."
--Warren Miller

I have always enjoyed Warren Miller's ski films, not only for the beautiful imagery of snow, sky, rocks (and skiers bouncing off those rocks), but for the wonderful little pearls of wisdom Mr. Miller threw into his wry narration. I thought of my favorite of all his quotes about just "doing it" recently as we made a decision on a new airplane kit to work on in my recently completed shop. There are a lot of wonderful airplane kits and designs out there that can do amazing things, and in each of the performance categories. But ever since I got a chance to fly the little SubSonex jet a few years ago, I had this feeling that sooner or later, I was going to need another fix. And after that, another one. And then another after that... and so on. Continue reading "Building a Jet"