October Meeting Recap

What a great meeting and program October 12th! Around 30 of us turned out to hear a very informative and well-presented program on the Air Traffic Control facility at Asheville (and the airspace we live in) by controller and member Ricky Brown. Thanks, Ricky. There are a lot of appreciative comments floating around and I hope you’ll consider coming back as the airport and ATC improvements at Asheville continue.

Member Ricky Brown is, I believe, the only active pilot at the AVL ATC Facility

Ricky was joined by fellow controller Jimmy Snider and we appreciate his participation as well..

Bill Kemper said his left door was pinned by a tree branch and looking down from his right door he was pretty high off the ground, so he broke the left door window and crawled out to hug that pine tree.

We talked about member Bill Kemper‘s forced arrival via parachute just north of the Greenville Downtown Airport on October 10th. Bill‘s engine gave up the ghost after a loss of oil pressure indication prompted a turn back to the airport and the eventual loss of oil gave him an opportunity to join the Caterpillar Club. We’re sorry that he lost a very good airplane, but are very happy he survived to tell the tale without serious injury to himself or injury to anyone on the ground. The pine tree huggers are after him to apologize to the tree that broke his fall and left him hanging some 50’ in its loving branches, but he showed no hesitation in doing so. 

We couldn’t find a pin that was awarded to members of the “Caterpillar Club” (people whose lives were saved by their parachute) .. most chutes are synthetic material now, but the silk spun by the lowly caterpillar saved many during World War II and provided material for ladies to make all sorts of clothing items. We ended up giving Bill a toy caterpillar to hang on his Christmas tree!

Also, we are the proud recipients of a functional simulator, a gift from Ray Strong, a friend of members Jerry and Nancy Marstall. Ray owned a Cessna Columbia based at AVL which he sold in February; the sim is configured the same as his airplane and is a very realistic training platform. We’re grateful to Jerry for setting this up and to Ray for his generosity. The original intent was for the sim to be placed on permanent loan to the WNC Air Museum but those plans have been set aside and a permanent home is being sought. In the meantime, several members who are training up have expressed an interest in making it operational at their home(s) so it can be put to immediate use. The machine is not currently FAA certified but it is a terrific procedures trainer and will be a real asset to us.

Keith Plemmons reported that his Skyote project is moving right along.

VP Jacob Coby is exercising his 182 which is based at Marion’s Shiflet Field.

A couple of days after the meeting member Tim Higgins unloaded his RV-12 wing kit with the help of fellow members Owen Patton and Mark Cigal. No excuses now, Tim. The timing couldn’t be better with his workshop close to ready and winter coming on.

Make a date for our November meeting … it’s going to be November 9th, and will be pretty special … more on that as the days go by.

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.

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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.