Greetings from The Aero Experience Team


The Aero Experience is a celebration of Midwest aviation and aerospace achievement. We invite you to join us as we explore the treasures of Midwest aviation through first-hand experiences. Our contributors take turns flying lead, and we are always looking for new destinations. Check in with The Aero Experience frequently to see where we will land today, and then go out and have your own aero experiences!

Blue skies,

Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl - The Aero Experience Team

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Elite Aviation Invites Community to Open House This Saturday

By Carmelo Turdo
Elite Aviation invites the community to their upcoming Open House this Saturday, April 21. Drive in or fly in to this fun, family-friendly event at Spirit of St. Louis Airport, at the west end of Edison Avenue, in Chesterfield. Have breakfast and lunch with the friendly staff and guests, check out the aircraft on display, and see for yourself why Elite Aviation is the premier flight school and aircraft maintenance center in the St. Louis area.   

About Elite Aviation

Elite Aviation, an authorized Cessna Pilot Center, offers the most comprehensive flight training program in the St. Louis area while providing a personalized approach to learning that brings maximum effectiveness to the student. Flight training is a continuous process, building on the skills and knowledge demonstrated at each level of achievement. Recurrent, instrument and complex aircraft training are available using the Elite Aviation fleet of Cessna 172 Skyhawks, Elite RC1 and full-motion Redbird MCX flight simulators, and the newly-arrived Piper Turbo Saratoga. Elite Aviation is a PSI Computer Aided Testing Service test center for airman, A&P mechanic and the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Drone Knowledge Test exams. 

The Elite Aviation fleet is also available for rental, and the aircraft are cared for by the Elite Aircraft Maintenance Service team. Elite Aircraft provides comprehensive maintenance services for piston-engine aircraft and coordinates the work needed for inspections, airframe and powerplant repair, engine overhaul, avionics and ADS-B upgrades, oxygen service and preventive/seasonal maintenance so important for safe and legal operation of aircraft. The customer relationship is of the utmost importance, and Elite Aviation stands behind the quality of their maintenance services.

Be sure to visit Elite Aviation on Saturday, and enjoy the day with fun people and a variety of fascinating aircraft!   

Monday, April 16, 2018

Flying With The Aero Experience: 2014 Cessna Discover Flying Challenge Tour

By Carmelo Turdo
We continue the Flying with The Aero Experience series with a look back to June of 2014 when the Cessna Discover Flying Challenge Tour (now known as Top Hawk) made a stop at Spirit of St. Louis Airport. The program began its third year providing a select number of flight interns the opportunity to tour the country promoting general aviation and, of course, Cessna products. The participants plan and execute the dispatch and flight operations during the tour, gaining valuable experience in the process. 

The Aero Experience was invited to fly in the new Cessna 172S Skyhawk flown during the tour by Discover Flying Challenge pilot intern Keven Lenahan. A lucky young lady, Samantha Brinker, won the drawing for a flight with Cessna pilot Dave Richardson in the Discover Flying Challenge aircraft. The aircraft was equipped with the Garmin G1000 avionics suite and even had that “new plane smell.” The short flight around the local area was sufficient to demonstrate the features of the flat screen cockpit instrument and navigation systems and other refinements made to this general aviation workhorse. Currently, the Top Hawk Program partners with five university aviation programs to promote participation in aviation education and pilot training.

The Aero Experience: Carmelo Turdo
Pilots: Dave Richardson, Samantha Brinker
Aircraft: Cessna 172S Skyhawk     

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Elite Aviation Hosts AOPA Rusty Pilots Seminar In St. Louis

By Carmelo Turdo
Elite Aviation hosted the St. Louis area's spring AOPA Rusty Pilots Seminar Saturday morning at their Spirit of St. Louis Airport facility. The three-hour session was expertly presented by John McGonagill, a veteran military pilot, CFI, experimental RV-10 builder and owner, and aviation consultant from Granbury, TX. Over 40 attendees participated in the interactive, scenario-based training designed as a refresher ground school course for inactive pilots. Throughout the session, participants were encouraged to discuss their responses to each situation, and McGonagill provided real-life illustrations from his flying experience to add further realism to the training. The program essentially presents the major aspects of a flight from one general aviation airport to another, reviewing each decision point and recommended action along the way. It is intended that the "rusty pilots" gain confidence with this table-top exercise in preparation to pass the flight review needed to restore themselves to active flying status.

According to AOPA, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, there are approximately half a million pilots who have taken time away from flying currency long enough to profit from the Rusty Pilots Seminar in preparation for a flight review and restoration of flight status (provided a medical certificate can still be obtained). The AOPA seminar satisfies the minimum one hour of ground instruction required for the flight review, including instruction on pre-flight, airport operations, radio communications, airspace and charts. The "rusty pilot" and a CFI (Certified Flight Instructor) will still have to devise a program for possibly more ground instruction and a minimum of one hour of flight training prior to the flight review.

Following the Rusty Pilots Seminar training, the next step in the process of regaining flight status is to work with a CFI in creating a plan of assessment and instruction that will lead to the successful completion of the flight review. McGonagill characterized this step as a kind of negotiation, with both parties reaching agreement on the amount of training that may be needed. This plan may change according to the comfort level of the pilot or CFI based on the progress made, with either party recommending additional training. The objective is to return a confident and competent pilot back to active flight status.       

Elite Aviation, a Cessna Pilot Center, serves as a critical part of that process by providing the area's most comprehensive flight training program. Student pilots, and those pursuing advanced certificates, receive industry-leading standardized flight training in late-model Cessna 172 aircraft (including G1000 cockpit) and a newly-acquired Piper Turbo Saratoga. Training is also provided using Elite RC1 and Redbird Full-Motion MCX programmable flight simulators. Elite Aviation also provides full-service piston aircraft maintenance on site at Spirit of St. Louis Airport. 

The Aero Experience thanks Elite Aviation for hosting the event, John McGonagill for presenting the AOPA Rusty Pilots Seminar and all those who attended. We hope events like this one will continue to reflect well on Midwest Aviation.