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

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Gateway Jets Is Your Choice for Aircraft Management

(Gateway Jets graphic)

Citation CJ Series Brings Comfort and Efficiency to Business Jet Travel, Part 1

By Carmelo Turdo
Owning and operating a Cessna Citation jet should be a pleasant and rewarding experience, and having the right aircraft management company on your side is an essential way to make it happen. What could be better than arriving at your destination in your own jet, on your own time, ready to step out and get on with your day? The availability of more affordable and efficient aircraft makes this a great time to invest in the model of Cessna Citation that best fits your mission needs.

The Aero Experience begins a new series featuring the Cessna CitationJet (CJ) managed by St. Louis-based Gateway Jets. We recently met with Corey Tomczak, President of Gateway Jets, who gave us a tour of a CJ-series aircraft and walked us through the purchase process. We will post a new edition of this series weekly through August. 

Gateway Jets manages a range of popular business aircraft types, including several in the Cessna Citation line. In this four-part series, we will feature the CitationJet, an update to the classic Citation 500 series and one of eleven different sub-types in the Cessna 525 line. The CitationJet takes the best qualities of the Citation design and offers improvements in safety, efficiency and comfort. In today's market, the CitationJet is affordable jet transportation, especially when shared among several owners and professionally managed by Gateway Jets.

Gateway Jets now makes owning and operating the CitationJet a viable option for a growing number of individuals and businesses. During an initial consultation with the potential owner, the mission is defined and search for the perfect aircraft is launched. Gateway Jets facilitates the purchase and then manages the operation of the aircraft for the convenience of their clients. The jet will be clean, well-maintained and ready to fly with an experienced Gateway Jets crew as scheduled when the owner arrives at the airport. Flight operations are handled in the safest and most economical way, ensuring the best overall customer experience.

In Part Two of this series, Gateway Jets President Corey Tomczak will discuss the design features and performance capabilities of the CitationJet. Later editions will include more details about the purchase process for the CitationJet and other popular business aircraft types.

For more information about their services, contact Gateway Jets today. Also, visit The Aero Experience and check out these stories:

Gateway Jets Brings the World of Aircraft Management to St. Louis, Parts One and Two
Gateway Jets: Managing the Citation Mustang, Parts One, Two and Three

Gateway Jets Sets the Standard for Aircraft Management Services

Monday, August 3, 2020

The Aero Experience Guest Post: Wings of Hope Young Ambassadors

The Aero Experience periodically publishes guest posts from one of our sponsors or aviation media partners. Today we feature an update from the Wings of Hope Young Ambassadors from their current President, Liz Burns.

Who are we?
The Young Ambassadors are a group of young professionals that supports Wings of Hope’s global humanitarian programs. Our goal is to engage, empower, and inspire young professionals to create cross-cultural connections and help address global problems. We accomplish this by planning and executing fundraising events, by scheduling social events to network and recruit new members, and by working together to increase awareness of Wings of Hope in our community. Simply put, we love to have fun while supporting Wings of Hope’s mission to change and save lives through the power of aviation!

Upcoming Events
Our annual Taste of Hope event is scheduled for Saturday, September 26th and will be hosted at the Wings of Hope airplane hangar in Chesterfield, MO. Attendees will be able to sample taste-sized portions of food and alcohol from supporting restaurants and breweries while enjoying music, a silent auction, and an overall good time! All money raised will go towards Wings of Hope’s international programs. 

Our Trivia Night will once again be hosted in partnership with the Greater St. Louis Flight Instructors Association (GSLFIA). This year’s event is scheduled for Saturday, November 14th with a theme of Aviation Cinema – get ready to test your knowledge of the classic comedy Airplane! and other aviation-themed films! All proceeds will support GSLFIA and Wings of Hope.

Tickets for both events can be purchased at

What international programs are we supporting this year?
This year, the funds raised by the Young Ambassadors will be supporting two of Wings of Hope’s international partners – Samaritan Aviation in Papua New Guinea and Patrulla Aerea Civil Colombiana in Colombia. The funds provided to Samaritan Aviation will be used to expand their missions to the southern region of the island. Their missions include emergency evacuation services, medical supply delivery, vaccine administration, and community health initiatives. Patrulla Aerea Civil Colombiana provides medical consultations and surgical procedures to remote areas of Colombia via monthly medical brigades. The funds provided by the Young Ambassadors will be used to set up a telemedicine platform for post-surgical care.

Past Events
In 2019, the Young Ambassadors were able to raise over $30,000!  The funds were allocated to Wings of Hope’s partners in Zambia, Ecuador, and Belize to support orthopedic and reconstructive surgical services and medical evacuation flights. Last year’s fundraising events included Taste of Hope and our James Bond-themed Trivia Night, as well as a Dine-to-Donate Happy Hour at Granite City Food & Brewery and a Charity Challenge with Prana Yoga. 

Editor's note:
The Aero Experience applauds the work of the Wings of Hope Young Ambassadors, and encourages our audience to support their work by attending the fundraisers mentioned above or donating to Wings of Hope.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Three T-38 Thunderbird Jets Salute Air Force Veterans at Minnesota Airport

By Mark Nankivil

During a visit with family in Minnesota, I stopped at the Owatonna Degner Regional Airport. The airport has a distinctive display that you cannot miss seeing as you drive by on I-35 - a trio of Northrop T-38As dressed in Thunderbirds markings positioned as if they are in the midst of a bomb burst during an airshow. The display has been at the airport since 2006 when they were moved to their present location from the now closed Heritage Halls Museum previously located north of the airport.

We also had the opportunity to photograph a few other aircraft on the apron. There was a Thrush 510P that was in the area to spray the corn and soybean crops with fungicides. Fungus is a concern this time of year for crops where wet conditions allow fungus to flourish. While taking these photos, we could see a helicopter spraying fields well off to the west but it was never close enough to photograph. Also on the apron was this Cessna 185 on Aerocet amphibious floats. In the "Land of 10,000 Lakes," this set up would be a lot of fun to have!