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

Friday, February 25, 2011

Boeing Receives IEEE Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing for the Mercury Spacecraft in Ceremony Today

(Boeing Video)

Boeing received the IEEE Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing for the Mercury Spacecraft in a ceremony today at the St. Louis Campus Building 100 Prologue Room.  The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is a non-profit, professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation related to electricity, and recognizes the advancements made by the Mercury Spacecraft team in the areas of navigation and control systems, including fly-by-wire.  Here are some views of the ceremony:

Mercury Full-Size Engineering Mock-Up Located in Boeing Prologue Room

Randy Jackson, Former News Anchor and Boeing Communications Specialist, Introduces the Program and Featured Speakers

John Van Gels, St. Louis Senior Site Executive, Reflects on Space Flight Heritage

Moshe Kam, IEEE Fellow and Electrical Engineering Dept. Head at Drexel University, Describes the IEEE Milestone Award Process

Dennis Muilenburg, President and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space and Security Based in St. Louis

The IEEE Milestone Award in Unveiled

Closeup of the IEEE Milestone Award

IEEE Milestone Award Plaque

Reception in the Boeing Prologue Room Following the Ceremony

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Boeing Wins Next Generation Tanker Contract - Names Aircraft KC-46A

(Boeing Illustration)

ST. LOUIS, Feb. 24, 2011 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has received a contract from the U.S. Air Force to build the next-generation aerial refueling tanker aircraft that will replace 179 of the service’s 400 KC-135 tankers.The contract calls for Boeing to design, develop, manufacture and deliver 18 initial combat-ready tankers by 2017.

"We're honored to be given the opportunity to build the Air Force's next tanker and provide a vital capability to the men and women of our armed forces," said Jim McNerney, Boeing chairman, president and CEO. "Our team is ready now to apply our 60 years of tanker experience to develop and build an airplane that will serve the nation for decades to come."

In selecting the Boeing NewGen Tanker after a lengthy and rigorous proposal process, the Air Force has chosen an American-built, multi-mission tanker that is based on the proven Boeing 767 commercial airplane and meets all requirements at the lowest risk for the warfighter and the best value for taxpayers. The Boeing 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.

"This contract award would not have been possible without the hundreds of Boeing employees across the entire company, and the thousands of our industry teammates, who remained laser-focused on our commitment to offer a solution that is first in capability and best in value,” said Dennis Muilenburg, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. "This award is also a tribute to the Air Force and Defense Department officials who worked so tirelessly to make this procurement process fair, ultimately resulting in the selection of the right plane for the mission. We look forward to working with our Air Force customer to deliver this much needed capability to the servicemen and women we are honored to serve."

The KC-46A tankers will be built using a low-risk approach to manufacturing by a trained and experienced U.S. work force at existing Boeing facilities. The KC-46A tanker also will fuel the economy as it supports approximately 50,000 total U.S. jobs with Boeing and more than 800 suppliers in more than 40 states.

"Boeing has always been committed to the integrity of the competitive process, and the men and women across our Boeing commercial and defense teams and our entire supplier network are ready to extend that commitment to delivering these tankers on time and on budget," said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Based on the proven Boeing 767 commercial airplane, the KC-46A 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 flight control design philosophy that places aircrews 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.

To learn more about the KC-46A Tanker, visit

Lima Lima Flight Team Headlines Memorial Day Salute to Veterans Airshow in Columbia In May

(Lima Lima Flight Team Photo)

The Lima Lima Flight Team from Naperville, IL will headline this year's Memorial Day Salute to Veterans Airshow in Columbia, MO May 28-29.  Show your support for this outstanding event and attend both days.  More information can be obtained at

Space Shuttle Discovery Lifts Off On Its Last Flight

(NASA Photo)


NASA'S Shuttle Discovery Heads To Space Station On Its Final Mission CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The final flight of space shuttle Discovery lifted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center at 4:53 p.m. EST Thursday to deliver a new module and critical supplies to the International Space Station.

The STS-133 mission is delivering the Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM), a facility created from the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module named Leonardo. The module can support microgravity experiments in areas such as fluid physics, materials science, biology and biotechnology. Inside the PMM is Robonaut 2, a dextrous robot that will become a permanent resident of the station. Discovery also is carrying critical spare components to the space station and the Express Logistics Carrier 4, an external platform that holds large equipment.

"With Discovery's mission, the United States once again reaches for new heights, pushes the boundaries of human achievement and contributes to our long-term future in space," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "Discovery's crew - including the first-ever dexterous robot crew member, Robonaut 2 - will continue America's leadership in human and robotic spaceflight, and support important scientific and technical research aboard the space station."

STS-133 Commander Steve Lindsey will command the flight. He is joined on the mission by Pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialists Alvin Drew, Steve Bowen, Michael Barratt and Nicole Stott. Bowen replaced Tim Kopra as mission specialist 2 following a bicycle injury on Jan. 15 that prohibited Kopra from supporting the launch window. Bowen last flew on Atlantis in May 2010 as part of the STS-132 crew. Flying on the STS-133 mission will make Bowen the first astronaut ever to fly on consecutive missions.

The shuttle crew is scheduled to dock to the station at 2:16 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 26. The mission's two spacewalks will focus on outfitting the station and storing spare components outside the complex.

After completing the 11-day flight, the shuttle's first landing opportunity at Kennedy is scheduled for 12:44 p.m. on Monday, March 7. STS-133 is the 133rd shuttle flight, the 39th flight for Discovery and the 35th shuttle mission dedicated to station assembly and maintenance. NASA's web coverage of STS-133 includes mission information, a press kit, interactive features, news conference images, graphics and videos. Mission coverage, including the latest NASA Television schedule, is available on the main space shuttle website at:

NASA is providing continuous television and Internet coverage of the mission. NASA TV features live mission events, daily status news conferences and 24-hour commentary. For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and schedule information, visit:

Daily news conferences with STS-133 mission managers will take place at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. To use this service, reporters must have valid media credentials issued by a NASA center or issued specifically for the STS-133 mission.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

No End in Sight for B-52H - Boeing Contract for at Least 10 Years of Support Continues

(USAF Photo via Boeing)

Boeing News Release Issued: February 22, 2011 11:30 AM EST

Boeing Receives 2nd Option of B-52 Engineering Sustainment Contract from US Air Force

WICHITA, Kan., Feb. 22, 2011 -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] today announced that the U.S. Air Force has exercised a $21.7 million option for the company to continue supporting the B-52 Stratofortress bomber under an Engineering Sustainment Program (ESP) contract that Boeing received in June 2009.

Under the terms of the $750 million, 10-year ESP contract, Boeing will continue to perform engineering assignments that maintain the B-52 as a ready, reliable and viable asset to the Air Force.

"This is the second exercised option of the ESP agreement, which includes an initial contract and nine options," said Mike Houk, manager of B-52 Fleet Support for Boeing. "This option allows us to continue supporting our customer by sustaining, modernizing and upgrading the B-52 to ensure that the aircraft continues to meet its mission."

Boeing will provide engineering design, engineering support and technical support services for the modernization and sustainment of the B-52H and its components, support and test equipment, and system integration laboratory. The work will be done in Wichita and Oklahoma City, and at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and Barksdale Air Force Base, La.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

NAS North Island Events Begin Centennial of Naval Aviation Celebration

Special thanks to Mark Nankivil of the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum for attending the festivities and providing these awesome photos!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Collings Foundation Receives F-100F Super Sabre for Vietnam Memorial Flight

(Collings Foundation Photo)

The Collings Foundation has added an F-100F Super Sabre to its Vietnam Memorial Flight collection.  The Collings Foundation press release, in part, states:

"The Collings Foundation will fly the F-100F in honor of our Vietnam Veterans and all who fought for the freedom of the Vietnamese people. We will be adding the F-100F to the Foundation’s Vietnam Memorial Flight Training Program. Eventually, we would like to add it to our Flight Experience Program that currently features the F-4 Phantom II, A-4 Skyhawk and Bell UH-1E “Huey”. This will be a very rare opportunity for people to see the Super Sabre streak across the sky and fly in one of the most iconic aircraft of the Vietnam War. 

"We would like to thank Frank and Bruce Dworak and their families for making this possible. With his support there is now a F-100 flying in tribute to our Veterans and accessible to all."

Boeing Submits Final NewGen Tanker Proposal to US Air Force

(Boeing Photo)

Boeing News Release Issued: February 10, 2011 2:00 PM EST

The Boeing Company today submitted its final proposal for the U.S. Air Force’s KC-X tanker competition. The proposal offers a fleet of Boeing NewGen Tankers -- 767-based, multi-mission aircraft that deliver superior capabilities to U.S. warfighters and burn 24 percent less fuel than the competing European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS) Company’s tanker. If selected, the Boeing tanker will save taxpayers tens of billions of dollars in fuel costs over the next 40 years and support 50,000 American jobs with more than 800 suppliers in more than 40 states.

“This decision is critical to America’s national security and its manufacturing base,” said Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney. “Our best-of-Boeing team has offered the most capable and fuel-efficient tanker that will enable the U.S. Air Force to continue serving as the world’s finest air refueling provider without breaking future defense budgets.”

“Our challenge is to replace the KC-135, one of the most valuable aircraft fleets in aviation history, and we responded to the U.S. Air Force’s requirements by proposing the best multi-mission airplane built by the most experienced people -- the NewGen Tanker,” said Dennis Muilenburg, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. “We have an integrated team that has spent the entire competition focusing on our customer and preparing to execute immediately after the contract is awarded. Boeing is ready to build America’s next tanker.”

“Our NewGen Tankers will be built using a proven low-risk, in-line manufacturing approach similar to the highly successful 737-based Navy P-8A, by an already trained and highly experienced U.S. work force at existing Boeing facilities that have delivered more than 2,000 tankers and 1,000 commercial 767s,” said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Boeing has been designing, building, modifying and supporting tankers for decades. These include the KC-135 fleet, the KC-10 fleet, and four KC-767Js delivered to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. The Italian Air Force formally accepted its first KC-767 tanker in December and will receive three more as part of its current contract. In addition to being ready now, the Boeing NewGen Tanker will continue to deliver capability and value to both warfighters and U.S. taxpayers for decades to come. The NewGen Tanker:

Saves taxpayers up to $36 billion in life-cycle costs compared with the competitor’s aircraft -- a difference that could pay for an additional fleet of 179 tankers

Features a flight control design philosophy that places aircrews in command of the entire flight envelope rather than allowing computer software to limit combat maneuverability

Provides Air Force pilots with an advanced digital flight deck featuring Boeing 787 Dreamliner electronic displays

Includes proven air refueling technology and a modernized NewGen KC-10 boom with an expanded refueling envelope capability, increased fuel offload rate and fly-by-wire control system -- all from the company that invented the air refueling boom and has produced the world’s most capable and reliable tankers

Delivers significantly more fuel, cargo, passengers and patients than the current KC-135 tanker in a widebody airplane with a narrowbody footprint that affords the Air Force invaluable flexibility for a variety of operations.

Boeing’s final proposal is the culmination of a process that began when the company started studying tanker requirements after the release of the Air Force’s draft Request for Proposal (RFP) in September 2009, followed by a final RFP in February 2010. Boeing responded to the final RFP by submitting an 8,000-page proposal on July 9, 2010. A contractor will be selected early this year to replace 179 of the 400 Eisenhower-era KC-135 aircraft currently in the Air Force fleet.

More information on Boeing's NewGen Tanker, including video clips and an interactive tour of the aircraft, is available at For more information on joining the company's efforts, visit

Monday, February 7, 2011

EAA Webinar Tells the Story of Canadian Pilot Training as the "Aerodrome of Democracy"

(Vintage Wings of Canada Photo)

Today's EAA Webinar featured Rob Fleck, Vintage Wings of Canada President, telling the story of Canadian pilot training during WWI and WW II and the upcoming commemorative flights celebrating the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. For more information, please visit and

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

EAA Webinar Features Jeremy Monnett's Evaluation of the Onex by Sonex

John Monnett (right) congratulations Jeremy Monnett (left) on a successful first flight of the Onex.
(Sonex Photo)

Tonight's EAA Webinar was conducted by Jeremy Monnett, CEO of Sonex, and featured his evaluation of the newest Sonex product, the Onex.  Sonex kits are marketed as "Thoroughbreds of Sport Aviation," and the Onex promises to be another success story.  Basically an 85% scale Sonex with one seat and folding wings, the Onex will be smaller, cheaper and easier to build than the Sonex, but with similar performance.  The Onex will max out at 900 lbs. and is designed to withstand +6/-3 g loads.  For more information on the Onex, please visit:

A recording of the webinar will be available at soon.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

MO Aviation Historical Society February 9 Meeting Is Postponed


MO Aviation Historical Society February 9 Meeting has been postponed.  Please check back on the link at right soon for the new meeting date.