Dyke Delta N71AW Light Painting
The construction of Experimental Aircraft N71AW began after Alan White’s first visit to Oshkosh. It was there, during the 1970 fly-in convention, where he met designer John Dyke and got a first look at his prototype, N555A.
When Al started his Dyke Delta project in 1971 his two children were still small enough to bounce on his knee. They grew up watching dad work on his project – eventually, so did their children.
Al cut the first tubing in March of 1971. At that time, he planned a construction schedule of five years. It only took “slightly” longer than that! In fact, just a little more than 34 years later, the “Whitehouse Limousine” was ready for its first flight! That historic moment was on June 7, 2010! After all that time, Al was rewarded with a Brokaw Perseverance Award.
What Makes It Tick
For those of you who understand aviation jargon, you should know that Al’s N71AW is powered by a Lycoming 0-360 F1A6 with an updraft sump and carburetor turning a While Wind 151 carbon-fiber three-blade constant-speed prop. Takeoff roll is 1,000 feet, climb 1,400 fpm, and cruise 150 to 166 knots true airspeed, depending on attitude and power setting. Empty weight is 1,137 pounds, max gross is 2,000 pounds, and fuel capacity is 43.5 gallons.
Light Painting Al’s Dyke Delta N71AW
I met Al last March at the Motorhead Madness Car Show in Duluth, MN. I casually mentioned to one of the other vendors at the end of the first day that I was hoping to light paint an airplane sometime soon. They told me that the guy in the Amsoil booth right next to mine had an airplane and that I should talk to him.
So the next morning I introduced myself to Al and we chatted about his plane and the interesting story behind getting it built. Al wanted to include his two granddaughters, Sasha and Kylie, in the photograph. I thought that was a wonderful idea! I also encouraged him to be in one of the images as well.
It was still very much winter at the time, so we agreed to talk about it when warmer weather got here. A few weeks back I got in touch with him and set a date pending good weather.
A Chilly Day on Lake Superior (no big surprise)
On Saturday, June 22nd, I drove up to Superior, WI to create Al’s N71AW Dyke Delta light painted photograph. Just like it often is “up north” on Lake Superior, it was a chilly 52 degrees with a strong wind out of the north. It was about 73 in the Twin Cities that day!
I always get pretty warm running around whenever I light paint. But Sasha and Kylie were just a little bit cold in their cute dresses. I worked as fast as I could so that they could get out of the windchill. Of course, being that they’re girls, they had more than one outfit to wear too. No problem!
The Terminal Hangar
It’s sometimes difficult to select a background for a light painting subject and N71AW was no different. For obvious reasons, airports don’t have tall trees and other tall objects near them. But they do have hangers.
The Terminal Hanger at Richard I Bong Airport is filled with parts of planes that they show during tours of the facility. Al shared with me the fact that the bricks on the outside of Terminal Hanger are from the open hearth steel mill furnaces that used to be in West Duluth. In addition to the cool brick, I loved the big red windows and the ivy growing on the structure, so that’s how the background for N71AW was selected.
In addition to having the girls in the light painting (in two different outfits), Alan had his portrait done too.
The bonus image is the one I created with the girl’s mom, Jeanine, in the photo. It was only a “test” image when I was setting up my lights for the girls and Al, but I really like it, so I made a version with her too!
There’s A Movie
As I always do with my light paintings, I’ve got a short video on our YouTube channel that shows the building of Al’s N71AW Dyke Delta light painting. Take a peek at it, it’s really interesting to see the image come to life.
Thank you for reading our post and have a good one! – M&J