60th Anniversary of Dyke Delta


November 1, 2022

Jeremy D Dando

John Dyke, a man who not only flew, but has designed one of the most unique airplanes I have seen around Minnesota and the Midwest.

The 2022 EAA AirVenture had several highlights for me as a

photographer and writer. There were fast planes with massive

engines, small planes with tiny engines. Pilots who flew

big jets and pilots who flew single engine props. But a highlight

is always talking with the people! This year I had the

pleasure to chat with John Dyke, a man who not only flew,

but has designed one of the most unique airplanes I have

seen around Minnesota and the Midwest.

One of the great aspects about general aviation is that there is a lot

of "design space" in the amateur built/experiment category of airplanes.

Each year the EAA gets to celebrate anniversaries of certified

and experimental airplanes and 2022 was the 60th anniversary of

the first flight of the Dyke Delta.

The Dyke Delta is named after it's designer, John Dyke and the

unique delta wing configuration of the plane. This little gem of an

airplane first flew on 17 July 1962 in Ohio. John was present at the

homebuilts in review stage to be interviewed by EAA homebuilt

council member Joe Waltz.

John built various scale models of his designs and then tested them by attaching

them to his car and observing how they behaved at speed. This work led to

the first design the JD-1, it successfully flew in July of 1962. The first prototype

met an unfortunate end in a garage fire, this led to the JD-2 which first flew in

1966. We were lucky enough to have two Dyke Deltas on the review stage;

N7DY and N71AW. Both are the JD-2 variants with a four-place cabin and

retractable landing gear. Other unique features are folding wings to minimize

storage space and a one/three seating configuration. The pilot sits on the center

line in the first row and the second-row features bench seating for three.

N71AW belongs to Alan White, a Superior, Wisconsin pilot who built his Dyke

Delta over the course of 39 years! Not that it was a difficult build, but it was a

project where family obligations and time available for the build extended the

build timeline greatly. Alan is somewhat of a celebrity, anyone who shows up

at a fly-in with a unique plane like the Dyke Delta better allow for plenty of

time for questions and pictures.

Chatting with John was a pleasure. As one of

the early pioneers of home-built planes, they

Jeremy D Dando

Chatting with John was a pleasure.

did not have the luxuries of kits, CAD, carbon

fiber, CNC or all the experiences of the past 60

odd years documented on the internet in videos

or pictures. They were mechanics, tinkerers,

problem solvers. Smart men who had

dreams and brought them to life. It was fun to

see his eyes light up as he regaled me with

stories and some of the adventures involved in

getting this unique design from a sketch on

paper to a real flying machine.


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