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, Fred Harl and Leo Cachat - The Aero Experience Team

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Air Associates Employs State of the Art Redbird Simulator in Flight Training Program

By Carmelo Turdo
Pilot training in the St. Louis area is conducted with greater efficiency and in all weather using the advanced Redbird MCX flight simulator at Air Associates of Missouri, the Cessna Pilot Center located at Spirit of St. Louis Airport in Chesterfield, MO.  The Redbird MCX is a full-motion, fully dual-control simulator offering an exceptional level of realism to the pilot training environment.  The Redbird MCX at Air Associates of Missouri also offers dual crew training capabilities as well as optional features that can be tailored to specific training objectives.  The Redbird MCX will be employed as part of the comprehensive training program, including the acclaimed  Quick Start Flight Training Program.

A simulated flight around the St. Louis area in a twin-engine Baron configuration demonstrated the Redbird's realism.  The experience of flight was enhanced by the wrap-around visual references, stunning instrument displays, and the full-motion performance of the Redbird MCX.  The feeling of being pushed back in the seat during turns and climbing maneuvers lent a layer of realism that is usually reserved for actual flight.  Even with this level of realism, there is a way for the instructor to take advantage of those teachable moments - the Pause Button.  When a student is having difficulty in a training scenario, the instructor can stop the event at any time to discuss the proper pilot response before continuing the lesson.  After further practice in the simulator, the student pilot develops a sense of confidence based on training received under realistic conditions in the Redbird MCX.

Get a Fast Track to Flight With the Air Associates Quick Start Program

Getting that first real flight training experience has become much more accessible through the Air Associates Alpha Pilot Academy Quick Start Flight Training Program.  Get those first hours of flight training in a modern Cessna 172 and in the high-tech Redbird simulator at less cost and time investment than other programs.  And knowing that it will be conducted by Air Associates gives the program instant credibility.

The Quick Start program includes a 1 hour flight training session in a Cessna 172 Skyhawk, four sessions in a Redbird flight simulator, and home study materials that include internet-based practice modules.  The new student pilot can learn the basics of flight within a week if desired, and then make plans for additional training toward the Private Pilot Certificate.  The program is also great for those participants who want to get their bucket list flight "Solo" experience.  

The Aero Experience has posted several stories featuring the modern aircraft and the ultra-realistic Redbird simulators employed at both the St. Louis, MO and Olathe, KS locations.  We encourage our audience to contact Air Associates to begin a Quick Start program, take additional flight training, rent an aircraft or schedule maintenance for your aircraft.


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Tribute To Ozark Airlines Honors St. Louis Aviation Heritage

By Carmelo Turdo Missouri Aviation Historical Society hosted a tribute to Ozark Airlines Saturday at Boeing Hall in the St. Louis Science Center.  The special event was in held instead of the regular monthly meeting, and attracted a large number of former Ozark Airlines employees.  The afternoon event included a variety of Ozark Airlines memorabilia on display, two videos covering the history of the airline, and a panel discussion with retired Ozark Airlines employees.

The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum brought some of their Ozark Airlines memorabilia for the attendees to examine.

Missouri Aviation Historical Society President Dan O'Hara welcomed everyone and introduced the special guests participating in the program. 

Mr. Jerry Castellano, Ozark Airlines Flight Attendant, introduced the film, The Swallow's Tail: The Story of Ozark Airlines, which he produced.  The film was directed by Jim Dreyer of Big Sly Media (he is featured on the panel discussion below).  Also below are some screen shots from the movie.

A panel discussion was held following the first film, moderated by Jerry Castellano, featuring (L-R): Jim Dreyer, Director of The Swallow's Tail; Steve Albert, Supervisor of Commissary and Cabin Services; Cliff Day, Marketing Representative/Charter Sales; and Salvadore Chistifulli, Director of Commissary and Cabin Services.  Video coverage of the panel discussion will be available from the Missouri Aviation Historical Society in the near future. 

Following the panel discussion, during which the participants relayed their experiences and stories from their Ozark Airlines careers, the audience viewed the PBS documentary, Ozark Airlines: The Sky's the Limit.  Former employees of Ozark Airlines also posed for a group photo.

The Aero Experience thanks the Missouri Aviation Historical Society for producing such a remarkable event.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Airports In Action: Mount Vernon, IL Outland Airport Is Valuable Community Resource

By Carmelo Turdo
Mount Vernon, IL Outland Airport, a regular destination of The Aero Experience team, continues to effectively serve the central Illinois region as a valuable aviation and economic community resource.  Host to aviation businesses, private and business aircraft and numerous annual community and regional events, the airport has been recognized in recent years - 2015 Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Aeronautics Airport of the Year and 2014 Illinois Governor's Hometown Award for the combined Jefferson County Hall of Honor, Colonel R.D. White Veterans Museum and Jefferson County Heroes Memorial all located on site.           


Mount Vernon Outland Airport provides a significant economic contribution to the community, Jefferson County and the central Illinois region.  The airport is home to over 50 aircraft, supports over 25,000 annual aircraft operations and sells over 100,000 gallons of aviation and jet fuel per year.  SRT Aviation is the field's fixed base operator, and other businesses provide flight training, aircraft sales, and other expected support services.  Air Evac Life Team has stationed several helicopters at their station on their airport site since 2000, and the airport's fire department is equipped with modern response and rescue equipment.  Kash Helicopter provides aerial applications services with Bell Jet Rangers for farmers in the area.  Evans Aviation is the National Sales Manager for Jabiru USA Light Sport Aircraft.     

Mount Vernon Outland Airport's economic impact is another important measurement of the airport contribution to the community and the region.  According to the Illinois Department of Transportation 2012 Illinois Statewide Aviation Economic Impact Study, Mount Vernon Outland Airport supports a total of 149 jobs, a total payroll of $4.9 million and a total economic impact of $18.9 million.  According to the airport, on site jobs number 83, and there is an $11 million direct economic impact.  The proactive airport leadership has proposed Momentum 2020, the airport improvement and expansion plan that will economically provide for needed infrastructure improvements to meet the growing demands placed on the airport. 

The Aero Experience has reported on various events at the airport in recent years, including:

Illinois National Guard deployment flights:

National Ercoupe Convention:

Plane and Pilot Midwest Light Sport Aircraft Expo:

Air Venture Cup Race just prior to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh:

Balloons Over Mount Vernon 2016 Honors Vietnam Veterans:

The Aero Experience thanks Mount Vernon Outland Airport Manager Chris Collins, his staff and airport businesses for their hospitality and their support for Midwest Aviation.  

(Photos in this story were contributed by The Aero Experience team over a period of several years and can be found in previously released stories).