Looking Ahead to Our October 2021 Meet-up

After our great September gathering garnered so much interest in 3D Printing, October is looking like another hit …. We’re meeting again at the Western North Carolina Air Museum in Hendersonville on Tuesday, October 12. Food is available for the princely sum of $5 fresh off the grills by 5:30 or you can bring your own. The menu is Angus burgers, brats, Italian sausage and, maybe, Beefalo if we can get it. Please bring a side dish for yourself and to share ..

We’re returning to a topic that is strictly aviation with a program by member Ricky Brown on the local Air Traffic Control environment. Ricky is a Full Performance Level Air Traffic Controller at Asheville and a pilot, and he sees the system from both sides of the radar display. It promises to be an informative and entertaining evening. Thanks to member Jerry Marstall for suggesting and setting up this event.

We’ve learned that our founding president’s Marquart Charger is for sale at the Marion airport. “Red” Hunnicutt completed the airplane in 1992 and enjoyed it until he sold it in 2016. For more information contact me at eaachapter1016@gmail.com.

Warren Hunnicutt’s Charger, just after it was completed in 1992. The Charger has always had great reviews by those who have flown the type and, most recently, a Charger won Grand Champion Homebuilt at the AAA Fly-In at Blakesburg, Iowa, over the Labor Day weekend.

Looking forward to the 12th … in the meantime:

Stay well, Build Strong and Light, Fly safe


3D Printing – an Introduction

Members Mike Cola, Jon Smith and Jerry Marstall have been toiling away in their home workshops and have come up with some really nifty gadgets for their airplanes and homes. Here is Mike’s introduction. If you’d like more information on 3D printing, drop a note via our email group and they’ll be glad to share.

Mike Gave us a few links to resources. Here they are:

Search the EAA website for videos and articles on 3D Printing … there is a Dec 9, 2015 webinar on the subject.

matterhackers.com is an excellent resource for information on 3D Printing and for shopping for printers, filament, and parts.

All3DP is a magazine and website full of helpful articles on 3D Printing

“Maker’s Muse” and “Teaching Tech” are YouTube channels dedicated to 3D Printing

Getting Better Prints (Google it) is a good guide to troubleshooting parts once you get started.

September 2021 Meeting/Gathering Notice

Set the date on your calendar/tablet/watch/brain: September 14th – the second Tuesday! The grills will be hot at 5:30-5:45 for you to cook your own or for the measley sum of $5 you can be the proud recipient of one of our delicious hamburgers, hot dogs or brats. For do-it-yourselfers we gladly accept donations to cover sides, setups, etc.

Our postcard reminder for September – delivered by snail mail to national EAA members who aren’t on our email list

The program this month is a revisit of 3D printing, particularly as it applies to our brand of aviation, by members Jon Smith, Mike Cola and Jerry Marstall. For those of us who are coming out of the era of blacksmiths and metal mechanics it’s shaping up as an eye opening experience!

Until then … Stay well, build light and strong, fly safe!


August Meeting Recap

Hello EAAers ..
What a great evening on the 10th! Rain threatened but never materialized and 45+ of us came together at the WNC Air Museum to enjoy good food, whether brown-bagged or cooked on site, a well organized and presented program by Light-Sport CFI Bill Whitley, and great conversation! After the regular program and agenda we were able to go out in front of the museum to look over Bill’s weight-shift-control trike which roused a certain amount of curiosity … more than one member was heard to say “that looks like a LOT of fun”.

We remembered Leland Johnson, the owner and developer of Johnson Field (8NC9) and the property where the Air Museum is located. Leland passed on August 1. Some notable mishaps were mentioned as a reminder that SAFETY is our most important consideration. These may be revisited as investigators reach their conclusions.

Scoutmaster Matthew Hensley and his son, Noah, were there and Noah led us in the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag. Matthew has already asked if it would be OK to bring some more scouts to our meetings, to which we replied with a resounding YES! So we may have more of these terrific young people at future gatherings.

Screen Shot 2021-08-11 at 9.14.57 PM.png

Mike Cola and Jon Smith on the ramp at KCUB (Columbia SC)Our next regularly scheduled gathering will be September 14 at the Air Museum. That’s the day before Battle of Britain Day in the UK and there may be a special remembrance for that. The program is shaping up to be an extraordinary one.

Members Mike Cola and Jon Smith are eager experimenters with the developing technology of 3D printing and will be showing off some fascinating work they have produced at home … It’s truly an EAA thing of the future! 

You know, we are in a really exciting era. Need a heart valve? Print it! Need a part for your space ship? Print it! Rather than hauling up tons of hardware, so the thinking goes, why not just take up some printing media, some software, and the rocketeers can print what they need when they need it! Back on Earth, Car parts? Cars? The list is endless.
Until September 14th!

All the best … Alex

Build Strong and Light, Fly Safely!

Mark your Calendar: Tuesday, August 10

Our August meeting is shaping up to be a great one! The Program will revolve around Light-Sport flying with Light-Sport CFI Bill Whitley. Bill is qualified to teach in airplanes and has endorsements for Weight-Shift Control. He is also a Ground Instructor. It should be an interesting presentation (plus conversation, of course), especially for those of us who aren’t familiar with this kind of aerial adventure. Bring a friend!

Come Early! The preferred parking is in the museum lot, but additional parking is available between the hangars off Eastbrook Lane. We WILL find a space for you.

A visit to Keith Plemmons’ shop

First of all, a big Thank You to Keith for his presentation on July 13th. I’m a flyer, not a builder and to see and hear about someone else’s project is a bit like trying to fathom what goes into building a Golden Gate Bridge. The detail, the commitment, the skill sets that must be mastered … all that and more would be a real challenge for me. I’m glad there are builders. Jerry Tice, Mike Cola and I drove (thanks, Jerry) to Keith’s workshop west of Asheville on July 2 to see for ourselves what others have described as a truly professional shop.

Once he decided to build his Skyote, Keith equipped his shop for the tasks ahead. He found some old-school machinery (the best kind) to make the wide variety of parts that eventually found their ways into what he describes as something resembling an airplane. Here, Jerry and Mike are being shown some of the machine tools Keith has acquired to do the precision work required to make each part.

The first thing I saw on entering the workshop was a stack of 40+ sheets of dimensional drawings laid out on a perfectly level table. Keith explained the designer put everything on these sheets of diagrams that a manufacturer would need to build the airplane. Since every part is fabricated individually, some diagrams are here, some are there, but they’re all included and they all go somewhere.

The drawings were originally intended for a production version of the airplane. There are no instructions per se and no step-by-step plans such as are found in modern kits. Keith’s plans are set number 117. To give an idea of the complexity and level of commitment needed to build this airplane, only a few are actually completed and flying. Occasionally a prospective builder can find a partial project where someone or several someones simply gave up.

All these bits and pieces eventually find their place as the construction takes shape. There’s no such thing as going to the airplane store to buy a bracket or a gusset or a thingamajig common to thousands of other airplanes of the same design – every one of these has to be made individually in somebody’s shop.

Once enough parts are made and re-made to meet Keith’s requirements, they are moved to the airplane component to be assembled into the whole. Wings, for example, are put together on perfectly level, perfectly flat tables which Keith also had to make. Each task has many sub-tasks which have to be accomplished in order for the airplane component to come together. Note in this view the very slight left aerodynamic offset of the vertical stabilizer.

The Skyote is a design reminiscent of a Bucker Jungmeister – the Skyote being sleeker and smaller. It’s fully aerobatic and does its magic on 100HP or less. See Budd Davisson’s article at: http://www.airbum.com/pireps/PirepSkyote.html

Skyote (L) is typically powered by an 85-115HP horizontally opposed aircraft engine. The Jungmeister, first produced in 1935, was powered by a 160HP Siemens radial in its most widely produced variant which. along with “astonishing maneuverability”, led to its domination of aerobatic competition for many years. Note the Skyote landing gear legs are not fabric covered … see the photo captions below.
Keith’s engine choice is a C-85-12 fitted with O-200 components, an oil filter, lightweight starter and a small alternator, yielding a package that will provide about 105HP and enough electricity to run his VFR avionics.

Keith has spent the past 4+ years, at this point, living with his Skyote. He says it surprised him to learn that the building process gave him the patience to accept that every part might not be perfect the first time; when parts might be “good enough” for some, he simply starts over and tries again to make it as perfect as it can be.

Keith, pointing out where wooden gap seal blocks will go as the leading edge meets center section. In his hand is an invaluable reference: “Aircraft Maintenance”, printed in 1940 as a guide for mechanics dealing with all manner of biplane mysteries, such as wing rigging. This is a fairly good view of the gear legs mentioned above: the leading part of the ‘Vee’ meets in the center of the fuselage and the trailing part further outboard … see also the next picture. If those ‘Vee’s were fabric covered they would “snowplow’ and induce considerable drag.

I could have spent many more hours listening to Keith and watching him work. I confess to feeling a little guilty taking him away from his work but he didn’t seem to mind taking the time to explain things in a way I could understand.

In summary, this is the state of the airplane as Jerry, Mike and I saw it on July 2, 2021. It’s on the gear, a milestone, accepting parts one at a time, the engine (background, left) and cowlings have been fitted and removed in preparation for final assembly, and the myriad of parts yet to be fabricated or assembled are almost ready.

I didn’t ask the inevitable question: “When will it be finished”? I knew the answer: “When it is as perfect as I can make it”.

Parking for tonight’s meeting

We’re anticipating a great turnout for tonight’s meeting and will have more vehicles than usual. The area between Mark’s and my hangar and Jeff Moore’s will be available for cars – Mark may be flying up to about 6:15 so we need to keep our side open that long … we may need some help situating cars to allow for exit .. also will use the apron next to, but not in front of, Jon Smith’s side of his and Jeff’s hangar as Jon expects to be doing some flying. When he’s finished we can put some cars there, too.
The aprons of the row of T hangars that belong to the museum might be available on both sides – we have to look at that. If the grass is wet, we will have to avoid the low lying areas as it’s very easy to bog down and make ruts that are hard to repair. Stay high. Check for any markings.

Make a Note – in ink! Lock July 13th on your schedule!

Our first postcard mailing was sent out on June 29 to 200 national EAA members within striking distance who are not on our email list .. The invitation isn’t restricted to EAA members – we’d like anyone who has an interest in aircraft building or flying or watching to join us. EAA has a big tent. Bring a friend.

It’s probably not a bad idea to bring a folding chair to July’s meeting/gathering as we expect to have a great crowd – also sitting down makes it easier to eat. There will be a couple of grilling sites and we’ll ring a bell when we’re ready to start the organized proceedings. We like to keep our meetings short and our conversations (airplane talk, mostly) as long as we want. The museum displays are there for your viewing; restrooms and kitchen are also available, courtesy of the WNC Air Museum. There is no charge but, of course, we – and they -appreciate your support.

Our program this month is the one we looked forward to in June, but had to be cut short due to a lack of audio/visual connectors – Keith Plemmons’ Skyote biplane project. After four years of full time learning and building, Keith is closing in on what experienced builders call, with a sigh, the last 95% of the job: Finishing the details. It’s like being third in line at the grocery store behind me (I always pick the slowest line behind someone with a shoebox full of coupons). Keith’s presentation is sure to be an interesting tour of an unusually demanding airplane building experience. Our new A/V equipment, owned and operated by the chapter, ensures we will have top-notch gear to use for our meetings/gatherings as well as an occasional movie night.

We’re all looking forward to a great late afternoon/evening and look forward to seeing you there!

Warren “Red” Hunnicutt

Red Hunnicutt was 94 years young when he flew west on June 8th. In January, 1993, he joined friends to form the Kiffin Yates Rockwell Chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association.

28 years later, we’re thankful to have some of our founding members still flying and encouraging members who have joined since the first gavel fell.

Warren was, according to an elusive source, a machinist, tool and die maker, airplane builder and a great source of motivation and support for other builders. His Marquardt Charger, bright shiny red, was built from plans and featured, front and center, on the ramp at the “Wings Over Asheville” airshow in September of 1993.

As time went by, Warren took on another interesting project, a “90% completed, 90% to go” (his description) Range Rider, lacking only 1 wing, landing gear and engine … plus, plus, plus … you know how it is. The newness of that one eventually wore off, but Warren was undeterred … airport bums are airport bums. But eventually even airport bums slow down.

Photo of Red by Simon Jennings in 2020

On June 8, 2021, Red went to his hangar in the morning. He loved being there, didn’t know it would be for the last time. He left for home and died later that day. This was not known when, at about 5pm, members of EAA Chapter 1016 set up tables and a barbecue grill at the Western North Carolina Air Museum. There were hamburgers and bratwurst and Italian sausages, potato salad, beans and goodies to eat. About 40 members and friends were there. The show went on even when the projector wouldn’t work and there were many conversations about airplanes and airports and people and airplane people.

Red would have liked that. Happy Landings, friend.

June 2021 Meeting Recap

It was really nice to see everyone on the 8th for our second meeting of this post-COVID year .. Attendance doubled from the May meeting, partially due to the internet hackers’ failure to devise a nefarious plan to make us want to stay home. I-26 did it’s thing, though, with an accident down the mountain that delayed Gary Garner and his wife in traffic for over two hours and caused them to miss a real celebration that was lined up for their 53rd wedding anniversary .. Mark Cigal had his RV-8 all ready for Mrs. Garner to take a ride and the cake was ready for them (and us) to enjoy. Being aviation people, we enjoyed the cake anyway. Gary and Mrs. Gary: We owe you one.

The burgers and brats were on the grill early and great conversations ensued.

Our meeting began at 7 as planned and a quick recap as to where we are and where we’re going followed. A couple of key points: Gary Garner is assembling information for an application to be sent in to EAA for their B-17 to visit Asheville next year. That was a great fundraiser for us and a lot of fun for our members. It’s also a lot of work lining up support from local businesses and the Asheville Airport. Gary put this together in 2016 and raised some $4,500+ for the chapter.

We are also asking for ideas for a new design for shirts and patches. Keith Plemmons did this for the Skyote community and others have talked about projects along this line. Please think about it and let’s see what we come up with.

Antony Pretorius wrote me back in April to say he wanted to step down as Young Eagles Coordinator .. he has been promoting Young Eagles for the past 12 years and he said it’s time for someone else to take it up. I’ve been sitting on this for all this time thinking he might change his mind but he hasn’t and so we’re looking for a Young Eagles Coordinator. Antony isn’t stopping his work with young people, promoting aviation; he is accompanying a young man and his father – a member of comedian Steve Martin’s area band, the Stone Canyon Rangers – to AirVenture at Oshkosh, along with another young fella – member Chuck Throckmorton on his first visit to the Mecca of experimental aviation. That sounds like a great trip and I hope we’ll have a full report in August.

At this point we were all looking forward to a much anticipated program by member and Technical Counselor Keith Plemmons on the Skyote project which has been his life for the past 4 years … but there came a hitch: We needed a certain kind of connector to link his laptop computer to the museum’s projector and we didn’t have one. This was a huge disappointment to Keith and for all of us as well .. he had worked really hard on a great presentation. But then, Keith came back with an impromptu, well thought out and informative, description of his decision to build the Skyote and the discoveries he made along the way. There were no plans as such, no books, no assembly instructions; the parts were described with dimensions, angles, placements but nothing anyone would think of as detailed plans, anyone but a builder like Keith. When someone begins describing parts in thousandths or ten-thousandths of an inch, it’s over my head, but then I had just been with Tim Higgins to Ray Moore‘s shop ( see the previous post) to see his B-17 work so maybe I did get an idea of this level of skill. At the end of his talk, I had a real appreciation for Keith and his commitment and I’m hoping to visit him one day soon to see his setup in person.

I admit I felt Keith’s letdown both as president and as a friend. For that, I apologize to Keith and to those in attendance. The chapter had presentation equipment at one time, I’m told, but whether or not we did back then, we will by next month’s meeting — with all the connections.

The goof-up with the equipment for Keith’s presentation is, I guess, part of starting up again after a long layoff .. at least that’s what one of our members told me .. so we’ll carry on (but I won’t forget it).

Thanks to Tim Higgins for bringing and showing parts for his RV-12 project. Tim says his shop is in the last stages of setup and is ready for work to proceed.

We signed up or renewed three new members at the meeting who are also members of the national EAA and another new member is looking for our online sign-up and the PayPal link member Brian Leverson set up at https://chapters.eaa.org/eaa1016

As your president, I’m really glad to see that our chapter is serving as a base for all our members, old and new, to make connections on all levels .. from building to flying to discovering common interests beyond the aviation community. When all is said and done, isn’t it true that our friends, old and new, are what it’s all about?

Until July 13th … Fly safe … Build strong and light … stay well …