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.

3 thoughts on “Warren “Red” Hunnicutt”

  1. I remember most of these people – especially Gadd, Elliott, the Marstalls. I could always count on Hunnicutt to manufacture a part for me on his lathe, like a bronze jackscrew for the trim tab on my 1946 Taylorcraft BC12-D. The guy was sharp – he added a thousandth to the diameter of the jackscrew to account for the wear in the steel housing. It worked beautifully, still does! Such a national treasure, that Warren Hunnicutt! I hired Red to make all kinds of tools, like a tool to press out bronze oilite bushings on my elevator and rudder hinges. And press new ones in. He was phenomenal!
    And a bungee tool to remove and install bungees on the T-Craft landing gear. He was a precision kind of a guy, meticulous with precision. I still have some of those tools, what were not stolen from me, and an engine stand he welded up. I wouldn’t take a thousand dollars for that engine stand. I might donate it to the club because I am old and a bit creaky myself. But I’d never sell it.
    RIP, Warren Hunnicutt. I love you, my friend. I’ll see you on the angels’ sides of the clouds.

  2. I remember Gary Barger too. Gary always had the nicest gentlemanly ways about him, and when we drove up to Brodhead together for the Pietenpol Fly-In a few years ago, his crowd of fans gathered around in the evenings to hear Gary pick his guitar and sing. The first time Gary visited Brodhead, he rode up on a motorcycle with his guitar strapped on, and I do mean to tell you Gary is a popular figure at Brodhead.

    If I could fit into Gary’s Flybaby, which I can’t, I’d beg him to let me fly it. That is one fine species of airplane.

    May I get long-winded here for just a minute or two? As the Reno experience reveals, the Continental O-200 has always been a great engine to trick with more horsepower. One of the tricks is “pop-up” C-85 pistons, which raise the compression ratio another atmosphere or so. Now what would happen if someone not knowing that the piston pin shaft placement on the O-200 piston is higher than on the C-85 piston, installed O-200 pistons in a C-85 on the nose of a Cub Special? The c.i. displacement is the same, and Continental’s O-200 pistons are cheap compared to pistons for a C-85, which sadly Continental quit manufacturing long ago.

    Well, it was inevitable. It happened: Murphy’s Law went into action. And when the owners came to pick up their “overhauled” Cub Special they had hell getting it back to South Carolina. I’d say that engine, having been unwittingly derated, was making about 35 or 40 horsepower and accumulating moisture and sludge inside the engine with incomplete combustion. Fortunately the other Cub Special owner flew back to South Carolina in a Maule.

    After some time struggling with the little Cub and suffering with consternation and white knuckles, the smaller of the two slender owners limped it back to KFQD. I would have loved to pull the prop through a few times to feel just how sick the compression was.

    It’s scary. In the nineties I flew to Oshkosh and back, and then it was annual time. The cylinder compressions on my little A-65-8 were all in the 30’s. We sent the cylinders off for overhaul, and all four were condemned. They were so worn-out, fatigued, over-bored, and cracked, not one could be restored. Somehow I already knew because every time I hand-propped that faithful little engine, it felt sick.

    Don’t you just love it — you macho bushplane swashbucklers — when you pull the prop through and you get that springy action of the prop blades hopping back and forth… and lots of resistance?

    OK, I’ve rambled enough and want to know the nice person I can give my plastic numbers so I can pay dues.

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