Home > PublicationsEncyclopedia >  Hunt, Roy Orlando

HUNT, ROY ORLANDO (1897–1944).

Aviator Roy Orlando Hunt entered the world at Arapaho, Oklahoma, on May 29, 1897, born to Walter Ernest and Elisa Burch Hunt. Roy Hunt attended public schools and spent his youth in Carter, Oklahoma. Service in World War I provided experience as an automobile mechanic, and by 1926 he had settled in Norman and was working for B. S. Graham Flying Service as an airplane mechanic. Hunt was one of a small, enthusiastic, enterprising group that developed commercial aviation in Oklahoma. A natural aptitude for flying led him to take up aerobatics with James "Jimmy" Haizlip, Graham's chief pilot. In 1928 Hunt took over the Norman service when Haizlip moved to St. Louis, his base of operations when he won the Bendix Trophy in the 1932 National Air Races. Competition also enthralled Hunt, and in 1931 he set a world's record for the most consecutive outside loops, 124 in 124 minutes. In 1932 he entered and won the Cord Cup Trans-Continental Air Derby, one of the National Air Races, from Los Angeles to Cleveland. He spent several years in California as an aviator for Curtiss-Wright (which operated a large air field north of Oklahoma City), but he kept his fleet of airplanes in Norman. In 1933 he moved his seven ships to a new base at Oklahoma City Municipal Airport, and he assumed management of Oklahoma Aviation Service, a freight, passenger, and pilot training facility. In 1935 Oklahoma City oilman F. C. Hall, a flier and aviation promoter, sponsored Hunt as a competitor for the Bendix Trophy in the National Air Race, and he finished fourth.

After his victory Hunt achieved greater fame in air shows around the nation. In 1938 he helped organize the Oklahoma Air Patrol, a group of pilots who assisted the Highway Patrol during public emergencies. His last employment came as a pilot for Fain Drilling Company. Married twice, he wed the former Mrs. Bert Dodd, also a pilot, in January 1944. She had graduated in October 1943 from the U.S. Army ferry pilot school in Sweetwater, Texas. On February 4, 1944, while flying to Virginia for a funeral, Hunt's plane crashed in Elkins, West Virginia, killing himself and his new wife as well as Oklahoma City First National Bank President Wilbur E. Hightower, Hightower's daughter, and veteran pilot George Ruddy. With Hunt's untimely death, Oklahoma lost a commercial aviation pioneer and a local symbol of the new "air age."

Dianna Everett

See also: GERALDYN M. COBB, BENNETT HILL GRIFFIN, JACKIE LINWOOD RIDLEY, TRANSPORTATION

Bibliography

"Roy Hunt," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.

Keith Kahle, "Pilot Who Stunted to Fame Dies on Prosaic 'Taxi' Flight," Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 5 February 1944.

Keith Tolman, "Business on the Wing: Corporate Sponsorship of Oklahoma Aviation," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 66 (Fall 1988).

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society. This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia and part or in whole.

Photo credits: All photographs presented in the published and online Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture are the property of the Oklahoma Historical Society and are held in the agency's Research Division Photo Archives.


Citation

The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Dianna Everett, "Hunt, Roy Orlando," The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org (accessed October 21, 2017).

About the Encyclopedia | Terms of Use | Using the Encyclopedia