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Poll: Awesome Or Ugly? The 1960's Era 'Dyke Delta' Homebuilt

Dave Williams' beautifully built Dyke Delta at Oshkosh 2010

 I can still remember being somewhere in the EAA campground at Oshkosh in about 1970 or 1971 and hearing John Dyke talking to someone about his Jetsons-like Dyke Delta. Even as a 10 year old I knew this airplane was something very special. I assumed then that the Dyke Delta would be built in large numbers because of its incredible look, its 3-1/2 place cabin, and the relatively high cruise speed of 170mph+ on 180hp. But for whatever reason, this high-performance flying machine never really caught on with homebuilders... only 50 or so have been built from the plans (no kits were available) despite the fact that the prototype for the JD-2 Delta has accumulated over 2,000 hours of flying time since its first flight in 1966.

Dave Williams' Dyke Delta in flight  (photo:

 Maybe the look was just too far into the future for people? I don't think that's it, but I did figure that the Dyke Delta is a perfect subject for an Awesome or Ugly poll. As I mentioned in the last AorU poll, every unusual design I've picked so far is one I personally think is awesome. That continues here with the Dyke Delta, which I think is one of the coolest collection of thoughts to ever wind up sitting on the flightline at Oshkosh. You avgeeks in the AirPigz camp usually agree with me, so let's find out again... please answer the poll question below: is the Dyke Delta awesome or ugly??

read more about John Dyke and his Delta in this EAA experimenter article from 2009

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Reader Comments (5)

Talked to John 2 weeks ago. He's no longer flying, I think his grandson may fly the delta when he gets some time built up.

May 21, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterseerjfly

RJ- Thanx for the update on John!

May 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMartt (admin)

I agree with you Martt that the Dyke Delta is an awesome aircraft but THAT canopy. ugh. I think if John had designed a slightly more rounded (read sexier) canopy then it may have caught folks attention more. IMHO.


PS. I found this image of a stylized DD on Google. This looks awesome. What do you think Martt?
updated Dyke Delta drawing

May 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGavin

Gavin- I've always just accepted the canopy, partly because way back in the 60's it seemed to fit the design style of the day. And then I noticed how it looked in the pic of the plans sheet above in the head-on view and I thought it looked kinda freaky cool in a retro kind of way. Having said all that tho, that image you bring up does look AWESOME! The Dyke Delta seems like a perfect project for a re-design in carbon fiber (to reduce weight and create the profile smoothness that really reduces drag) along with a simply styling update in the canopy to make one very hot homebuilt!

May 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMartt (admin)

That updated drawing was in a Homebuilt Aircraft Annual in the early 70's in a story on cleaning up homebuilts. John Dyke stresses that the design must be followed as closely as possible to the plans though Avions Robin built one to test that had the turtleback rounded and a 260 Lyc. in it. He did years of model and car top 'wind tunnel' testing for the best configuration. It was very heavy and did'nt perform well. John Thompson flew the 1st plans built delta with a 200 Lyc, constant speed prop, narrowed turtleback and sharper leading edge. He made it faster alright, it's touchdown speed was between 100 & 110 mph and he sacrificed the stability the DD is known for. I was obsessed with this ship through my childhood and wanted to build one.

May 22, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterseerjfly

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