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Old 06-29-2019, 09:51 PM
Rallylancer122 Rallylancer122 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Oconto, WI
Posts: 281
Default Dick Martin Gone West

Hi All,

My Dad, Dick Martin, passed away this week. Dick built one of the first RV-8's, finishing his in 1999. If you saw a well built, polished RV with a big black and gold 33 on the side and a flying tiger emblem on the tail, that was his.

After years of award winning aircraft restorations, he was "tired of dealing with old junk" and wanted a kit plane. He looked at the RV-4 (too small), Harmon Rocket (didn't like the big engine), Glasairs (didn't like fiberglass), and even started an Omega II (they pulled the kit). However when Van showed up at EAA with the -8 he was hooked. He finished the plane, slow build kit, in 2 years and put every speed mod known to man on it. For a time, it was the fastest one around.

The kit experience opened up a whole new world to him, unchaining him from the restrictions of certification and allowing him to express his inner engineer. Dick worked with Sam James on prototyping the round inlet cowl for the -8. (We combined the front of a James -6 cowl with the back half of a stock Vans cowl to build the first one.) He also worked with his long time friend Jim Younkin on the first RV-8 installation of the Tru-Trak autopilot. After his IO-360 chucked a rod he worked with BPE on installing an IO-390. If it wasn't the first RV-8 install of a 390, it was close to it. He loved ever single second of this. I always wondered he never painted the plane. He claimed it was for weight, but later on I realized it was because he never wanted it to be finished.

Dad ended up as 6000+ hour non-commercial rated pilot. (Think about that one for a moment.) This included more than 2000 hours in his Meyers OTW, which we still own, 1300+ in his Meyers 200, and over 2000 in his RV-8. Of the 25 airplanes he owned, the -8 was hands down his favorite.

Most of all, though, Dad loved the Vans community. His favorite thing to do was jump in his plane, fly around Wisconsin, and look at other people's projects. He helped a lot of guys build a lot of planes. So thank you to everyone, for giving his life so much enjoyment and meaning.

Dennis Martin

Ps. Dad died of Alzheimer's Disease. A terrible illness that steals one's soul. Please consider some of the great charities out there doing Alzheimer's research when doing your charitable giving. Millions of people are suffering the agony if this disease. It needs to stop.
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Old 06-29-2019, 09:54 PM
tfriendshuh tfriendshuh is offline
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Western Slope
Posts: 152

thanks for posting....

[ed. Tim died in the crash of his biplane 9/17/21. Deepest condolences to all his family and friends. V/r,dr]

tim CP ASEL & S

2006 RV-8A N6677F

1943 Boeing Stearman N19BB
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Old 06-29-2019, 11:05 PM
9GT's Avatar
9GT 9GT is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Southern Michigan
Posts: 2,199

So sorry for you loss. May God provide comfort for his loved ones.
David C.
Howell, MI
RV-10: #41686 Under Construction
RV-9A: #90949 Under Construction
RV-10: #40637 Completed/Sold 2016
Cozy MKIV:#656 Completed/Sold 2007
"Donor Exempt" but donated through Dec. 2021
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Old 06-30-2019, 01:00 AM
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rv8ch rv8ch is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: LSGY
Posts: 4,390
Default Great guy

Hi Dennis, like probably 1000s of others, I met your dad at OSH, and he was amazing. On probably the hottest day of the year, he took about 2 hours, sweating in the sun, to show me every detail of his -8 that I wanted to see. Super generous with his time and energy just to help some random guy he never met before. Sharp mind, sharp wit, and good humor. It was really fun to meet him and to learn from him. I'll catch up with him again on the other side.
Mickey Coggins
"Hello, world!"
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Old 06-30-2019, 07:23 AM
Skid's Avatar
Skid Skid is offline
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: KBUU
Posts: 258

I am sorry for your loss, my condolences to your entire family.
I met you dad at a small local fly-in years ago when I was building my 6A. We talked for the longest time then he asked how I was going to shut down the vents in the winter, I said just close them. He smiled and said ?your gonna freeze?. He showed me the vent shutters he built into his airplane, and asked if I wanted the plans, well I sure did. He sent me the plans and I added the shutters into my airplane, they work great (and I don?t freeze in the WI winter).
A nice man and I enjoyed speaking with him.
IO-360 B1B
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Old 06-30-2019, 07:37 AM
F1Boss's Avatar
F1Boss F1Boss is offline
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Taylor Texas
Posts: 847
Default Blue skies and fair winds!

Dick was a competitor in some of the Air Races around the US. My wife was with me at one or the other of those races, and Dick was bragging up his 8 could outrun a Rocket. Miss Cheryl did not take his tone, apparently. I asked if it would be OK to participate in one or another race, and she said yes as long as I beat Dick Martin. I did succeed, but the interval was not as large as expected. I remember Dick shaking my hand, and we discussed airplanes for a while. There was plenty of cajoling, back slapping, and congratulations going around; ?a good time was had by all?.

Godspeed, Dick.

"Not everyone needs a Rocket. Some folks, however, shouldn't live life without one.
You know who you are."
Budd Davisson, 1997
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Old 06-30-2019, 07:44 AM
BillL BillL is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Central IL
Posts: 6,366

One of the people Dick helped was Phil Champlain (New Holstein), I purchased his 7 as a kit in process, it had outstanding workmanship.

Dennis, I am sorry for your loss. You are right about that disease, it is not something to look forward to. May he now be restored . .

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Old 06-30-2019, 07:59 AM
painless painless is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Peshtigo, Wisconsin
Posts: 800

Sorry to hear Dennis. I remember drooling over his -8 at OSH. As I recall, didn’t he replace the empennage fiberglass tips with formed aluminum? In talking with him, he emphatically encouraged me to install capacitance senders in my fuel tanks when I was building my -6A. Glad I did, as I continue to be impressed with how accurate and trouble free they are.

Condolences to you and your family. The “long goodbye” of Alzheimer’s is a heartbreaking experience.
Jeff Orear
RV6A N782P
Peshtigo, WI

Last edited by painless : 06-30-2019 at 08:03 AM.
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Old 06-30-2019, 09:28 AM
sprucemoose's Avatar
sprucemoose sprucemoose is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: MKE
Posts: 1,541

Sorry to hear about your dad Dennis. I knew him as well, but that isn't any great accomplishment since I think every pilot in Wisconsin knew him. He gave me some good advice back when I was building that I still reflect on now and then.
Jeff Point
RV-6, RLU-1 built & flying
ATP, CFI, Tech Counselor, Flight Advisor & President- EAA Chapter 18
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Old 06-30-2019, 09:35 AM
Steve Ashby's Avatar
Steve Ashby Steve Ashby is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Stone Mountain, Georgia
Posts: 497
Default God?s Speed Dick

Over the past few years, I have really missed seeing Dick at SNF and OSH. Now I know why. He was one of my RV-8 heroes that inspired me to begin building an 8 and to polish it instead of painting. I loved to hear him tell me how to wring the last knot out of that beautiful ship.

On his way to heaven, I know for a fact that he is doing at least 220 kts. I?ll bet he is going to look up Lindbergh first thing.
Steve Ashby
Stone Mountain, GA
N184RW (reserved)
YIO-360 180 hp Lycoming
Hartzell Blended Airfoil Prop
Engine Hung
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