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, June 22, 2011

Ride of a Lifetime - MV-22B Osprey at Marine Week St. Louis

Aero Experience contributors Carmelo Turdo and Mark Nankivil had the "Experience" of a lifetime while flying aboard an MV-22B Osprey of VMM-161 during Marine Week St. Louis.  The day began around 07:00 (pretty late for Marines) at St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia, IL as those scheduled for media flights began to assemble for the pre-flight briefing.   Prior to the briefing, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay was honored for the city's efforts in the preparation for Marine Week St. Louis:

Mayor Francis Slay Accepts the Naval Aviation Centennial Award

The briefing covered the capabilities of the MV-22, the route to be flown, and safety procedures.  Below are some photos from the briefing:

MV-22B Osprey Squadron VMM-161 Sponsored the Media Flights

The Route Flown on the Media Flight

St. Louis Celebrities on the First Flight Included Marc Bulger, Al Hrabosky, and Dave Glover

Stick 1 (first flight) was off just after 09:00 with politicians and celebrities, but Stick 2 was ready about 30 minutes later.  It was now our turn, and we were all too eager to get on board.  But first meet our aircraft and crew:

MV-22B s/n 167916 of VMM-161

Major Bland and Captain Kerlin

CP Vines and LCPL Sevilla

Takeoff was smooth, and shortly the engines swivelled from about 45 degrees to a full 90 degrees forward for level flight.  There was a mild buffet during the transition of the engines, but then a real kick as the forward thrust took control.  Our flight brought us down the Mississippi River to the St. Louis, MO side, past the Gateway Arch, and over Forest Park.  Visibility out of the aircraft was limited to two windows on each side and out of the rear of the aircraft.  Here are some scenes from the flight:

Carmelo Turdo and Mark Nankivil Gear Up for the Flight

Our Aircraft Taxied out and Took Off After a Short Ground Roll 

Carmelo Turdo Grins with Enthusiasm In the Left Rear Section

Mark Nankivil Enjoys the Flight with Capt. Rich Dann to His Right in the Right Front Section

Mark Nankivil and Capt. Dann Take Pictures Out of the Open Rear Door

The Osprey Banks Over the River's Edge

The Gateway Arch Comes Into View on the Return Leg

Mark Nankivil Thanks a Marine for the Opportunity to Fly in the Osprey

Carmelo Turdo Strikes a Pose After the Flight

Special Thanks to Our Friend Fred Harl for Capturing the Event from All Angles!

Visit the Aero Experience again soon for on-board video from the flight!

(Photos provided by Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl)

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