Greetings from The Aero Experience Team

Greetings!



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












Monday, July 26, 2010

St. Louisan Rod Hightower Chosen as Next EAA President

Rod Hightower talks to an attendee of the Salute to Veterans Air Show in Columbia, MO

Long-time pilot and Stearman rebuilder Rod Hightower has been chosen to become the next EAA President.  Hightower, who keeps his beautiful Stearman at Creve Coeur Airport in St. Louis County, will bring his expertise in aviation and business management to EAA.  He currently is a director of the National Stearman Foundation and has helped organize the annual Stearman National Fly-in. His duties as EAA president will begin September 7, and include the day-to-day operations as well as direction of EAA programs and strategy.  I have had the privilege of meeting Rod several times at Creve Coeur Airport and the Salute to Veterans Corporation Air Show in Columbia, MO.  Congratulations, Rod, on this great honor!

Rod Hightower's Stearman at Columbia, MO May 28, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Boeing Company Unveils Hydrogen-Powered Phantom Eye Unmanned Airborne System

(Boeing Photo)
The Boeing Company today unveiled the hydrogen-powered Phantom Eye unmanned airborne system, a demonstrator that will stay aloft at 65,000 feet for up to four days.

"Phantom Eye is the first of its kind and could open up a whole new market in collecting data and communications," Darryl Davis, president of Boeing Phantom Works, said today at the unveiling ceremony in St. Louis. "It is a perfect example of turning an idea into a reality. It defines our rapid prototyping efforts and will demonstrate the art-of-the-possible when it comes to persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. The capabilities inherent in Phantom Eye's design will offer game-changing opportunities for our military, civil and commercial customers."

Later this summer, Phantom Eye will be shipped to NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., to begin a series of ground and taxi tests in preparation for its first flight in early 2011. That debut flight is expected to last between four and eight hours.

"The program is moving quickly, and it’s exciting to be part of such a unique aircraft," said Drew Mallow, Phantom Eye program manager for Boeing. "The hydrogen propulsion system will be the key to Phantom Eye's success. It is very efficient and offers great fuel economy, and its only byproduct is water, so it's also a 'green' aircraft."

Phantom Eye is powered by two 2.3-liter, four-cylinder engines that provide 150 horsepower each. It has a 150-foot wingspan, will cruise at approximately 150 knots and can carry up to a 450-pound payload.

Key Phantom Eye suppliers and partners include Ford Motor Company (engines); Aurora Flight Sciences (wing); Mahle Powertrain (propulsion controls); Ball Aerospace (fuel tanks); Turbosolutions Engineering (turbochargers); the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency; and NASA.

Boeing Press Release

Friday, July 9, 2010

Boeing F-15 Silent Eagle Demonstrator Makes 1st Flight

(Boeing Photo)
The Boeing Company Silent Eagle flight demonstrator aircraft F-15E1 completed a successful first flight on July 8 from Lambert St. Louis International Airport. During the 80-minute flight, F-15E1 opened and closed its left-side Conformal Weapons Bay, which contained an AIM-120 Instrumented Test Vehicle (ITV) missile. The ITV was not launched.

"The Silent Eagle demonstration flight validated our initial engineering design approach," said Boeing F-15 Development Programs Director Brad Jones. "Our intent was to verify all systems are operational in a flight environment. This flawless flight allows us to move into the next phase. In the next couple of weeks, we will ferry F-15E1 to the test range and launch an AIM-120."

"Everything about the flight went according to plan," said Boeing F-15 Chief Test Pilot Dan Draeger. "We saw nothing unusual during the flight, and we cleared the desired flight envelope needed to fire the missile at the test range; that is pretty much unheard of on a first flight."

The Silent Eagle is an innovative design solution developed in response to international customer requirements for a cost-effective, high-performance fighter aircraft to defend against future threats. The F-15SE offers unique aerodynamic, avionic and Radar Cross Section reduction features that provide the user with maximum flexibility to dominate the ever-changing advanced threat environment. The aircraft's Conformal Weapons Bays can carry a variety of air-to-air missiles and air-to-ground weapons.

Boeing Submits NewGen Tanker Proposal to US Air Force

(Boeing Photo)
The Boeing Company today submitted a proposal to the U.S. Air Force to provide the service with a next-generation aerial refueling tanker aircraft. Based on Boeing's 767 commercial airplane, the NewGen Tanker would replace 179 of the 400 Eisenhower-era KC-135 aircraft currently in the Air Force fleet.

 The 8,000-page NewGen Tanker proposal, hand-delivered to the KC-X program office at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, offers an American-made, 767-based multi-mission tanker that will satisfy all 372 mandatory Air Force requirements and be capable, survivable, and combat-ready at the lowest cost to the taxpayer. The proposal was created by an integrated "One Boeing" team from various sites across the company, including employees from the Commercial Airplanes; Defense, Space & Security; and Engineering, Operations & Technology organizations.

"We are honored to support our U.S. Air Force customer and submit this proposal to meet the critical mission needs of this nation," said Dennis Muilenburg, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. "Boeing has more than 60 years of experience developing, manufacturing and supporting tankers for America's warfighters, and we're ready to build the NewGen Tanker now. This revolutionary tanker will deliver widebody capabilities in a narrowbody footprint, operate in any theater or from any base, and -- with the lowest operating cost of any tanker in the competition -- save the Air Force and the American taxpayers billions of dollars."

"As the only company in this competition with rich experience in developing and manufacturing derivative aircraft for the warfighter, Boeing brings the talent and resources of our existing team and facilities to fully meet the requirements of the U.S. Air Force," said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "With our Boeing commercial and defense teams and a proven supplier network, we have delivered more than 1,000 commercial derivative aircraft to U.S. government customers and military customers around the world. Add to that our experience as the only company to deliver a combat-tested aerial refueling boom, and we are ready to provide the right tanker for the Air Force and the best value for taxpayers."

Based on the proven Boeing 767 commercial aircraft, the NewGen Tanker is a widebody, multi-mission aircraft updated with the latest and most advanced technology and capable of meeting or exceeding the Air Force's needs for transport of fuel, cargo, passengers and patients. It includes state-of-the-art systems to meet the demanding mission requirements of the future, including a digital flight deck featuring Boeing 787 Dreamliner electronic displays and a cockpit-design philosophy that places the pilot in command rather than allowing computer software to limit combat maneuverability. The NewGen Tanker also features an advanced KC-10 boom with an expanded refueling envelope, increased fuel offload rate and fly-by-wire control system.

More cost-effective to own and operate than the larger and heavier Airbus A330 Tanker being offered by the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. (EADS), the Boeing NewGen Tanker will save American taxpayers more than $10 billion in fuel costs alone over its 40-year service life because it burns 24 percent less fuel. The Boeing tanker also will cost 15 to 20 percent less to maintain than the A330, which means it will save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in maintenance costs.

Nationwide, the NewGen Tanker will support approximately 50,000 total U.S. jobs with Boeing and more than 800 suppliers in more than 40 states. That is tens of thousands more jobs in the United States than an Airbus A330 tanker that is designed and largely manufactured in Europe.

Boeing has the capacity and capability to meet the production rate at whatever level the Air Force determines -- with a low-risk approach to manufacturing that relies on a trained and experienced U.S. work force and existing Boeing facilities in Washington state and Kansas. Boeing will use a proven and cost-effective in-line production system similar to that used on the company's successful P-8 program for the U.S. Navy.

In addition to building the U.S. Air Force KC-135 and KC-10 fleets, Boeing has delivered four KC-767Js to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force and is on contract to deliver four KC-767As to the Italian Air Force.

To learn more about the NewGen Tanker and Boeing's bid for the KC-X tanker competition, visit http://www.unitedstatestanker.com/.

A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world's largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $34 billion business with 68,000 employees worldwide.

News Release Issued: July 9, 2010