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, March 31, 2011

Infotech @ Aerospace Conference and Boeing AIAA Chapter Join at Prologue Room

(AIAA Graphic)

As part AIAA Infotech@Aerospace2011 conference is currently being held in St. Louis, Boeing hosted conference attendees and local AIAA members at the Prologue Room March 30.  After a self guided tour, Eric Mathewson, Col. USAF (Ret) and Director of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Strategy for Boeing gave a presentation entitled, "Boeing's Vision for Unmanned Aircraft Systems."  Several themes quickly emerged:

There is continuity between manned and unmanned systems;

A compelling efficiency can be obtained through the conscious application of automated technologies (vehicles are mission-centric, not man-centric);

Automated Aircraft Systems are best developed through cooperation between industry, government and academia;

Unmanned Automated Systems are the game-changer that will transform the structures of the Department of Defense;

The risk of autonomy can be overcome through overcoming the fear of change, establishing ethical codes of conduct and gaining trust in the reliability of automated systems.

UPDATE: Phantom Ray taxi test up to 90mph were completed at Edwards AFB.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Royal Navy Retires HMS Ark Royal

F-4K Phantom II Takeoff From the Fourth HMS Ark Royal (Boeing Photo)

The Fifth and final iteration of the HMS Ark Royal was retired from Royal Navy service March 11, 2011.  Here is a short history of the various ships commissioned HMS Ark Royal over the centuries as provided by the Royal Navy:

The first Ark Royal was built for Sir Walter Raleigh. The 690-ton, 38-gun ship was purchased by the crown and became the flagship of the Lord High Admiral, Howard of Effingham. The ship saw action in July 1588 during the Spanish Armada and eight years later in Cadiz.

The second Ark Royal was acquired by the RN in 1913 and was commissioned in December 1914 as a 7,400-ton seaplane carrier. Her aircraft first saw action in February 1915 over the Dardanelles and later operated in the northern Aegean. After the war she continued in Naval service, being involved with the Russian Civil War, in British Somaliland in 1920, and the “Chanak Incident” in Turkey in 1922. In 1923, Ark Royal was re-commissioned. Renamed Pegasus in 1934, the ship took on a training role.

The third Ark Royal was commissioned in 1938 as a 23,000 ton Fleet Carrier, the second British ship conceived and designed as a ‘flat top’ aircraft carrier. At the outbreak of WWII, the ship was attached to the Home Fleet and during late 1939 and early 1940 she took part in many operations the Mediterranean. On 26 May 1941 Ark Royal was directly involved with the sinking of the Bismark, with her torpedo aircraft scoring two crippling hits. On 13 November 1941, the ship was torpedoed 30 miles from Gibraltar, sinking 14 hours later.

The fourth Ark Royal was commissioned in 1955 as a 43,000-ton armoured Fleet Carrier. Originally designed to operate 90 small aircraft with progressive modifications she was able to fly 40 much larger aircraft with faster landing speeds. Following a refit she was able to operate a new generation of aircraft, including McDonnell Douglas Phantoms.

The current HMS Ark Royal (Retired)
The fifth vessel to bear the proud name Ark Royal was built by Swan Hunters at Wallsend, launched by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother on 20 June 1981 and accepted into service on 1 July 1985. During her busy life the ship has seen service around the globe in many different roles, including as Fleet Flagship. The ship was deployed in early 2003 leading the UK’s naval forces during Op Telic. After a short period in Extended Readiness Ark Royal moved to Rosyth for modernisation and modification prior to rejoining the fleet as the Royal Navy’s most up to date aircraft carrier. She is currently operating in the Commando Carrier role, capable of carrying an Embarked Military Force of approximately 400 Royal Marines or Army, as well as operating Chinook, Lynx, Apache, and Sea King helicopters.

Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum Expanding, Updating Floor Plan

The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum at St. Louis Downtown Airport is expanding and updating the displays in its 1930 historic Curtiss-Wright hangar.  The museum gallery is undergoing a floor plan update designed to accommodate the increase in historic items received over the last several years, and additional hangar space will be acquired to house current and future aircraft on display.  The museum will participate in several high-profile events this year, such as Gateway to Aviation June 11, and Fair St. Louis Airshow July 2-4.  Make the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum part of your travel plans this year: hours are Friday & Saturday, 10am-4pm or by appointment.  Visit for more information.

St. Louis-Based Wings of Hope Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Wings of Hope, a St. Louis-based humanitarian organization, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace prize.  This video, provided by Boeing, celebrates the organization.  Visit for more information.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

23rd Annual Memorial Day Salute to Veterans Corporation Announces Air Show Performers

News Release:
Nancy Fields, Media Chairman
Web Site:



Columbia, MO: The Salute to Veterans Corporation invites the public to be our guests at the 23rd Annual FREE Salute to Veterans Airshow over the Memorial Day Weekend, May 28-29, 2011, from 9:30am to 3:30pm, at Columbia Regional Airport. The 6-Day Celebration includes the FREE Salute to Veterans Parade at 9:55am, Monday, Memorial Day, May 30th on Broadway in downtown Columbia, and concludes with the Military Ceremony at the Boone County Courthouse immediately following the Parade.

Demonstration Teams, Aircraft and Featured Events Include:

United States Air Force C-17A Globemaster III Aerial Demonstration Team:
The USAF 58th Airlift Squadron “Rat Pack” Demonstration Team from Altus, AFB, Oklahoma will be here for the first time to headline our 2011 Airshow. This huge aircraft will thrill our spectators by giving a spectacular demonstration of its flying capabilities. The C-17A Globemaster III is the newest, most flexible cargo aircraft to enter the airlift force and is capable of rapid strategic delivery of troops and all types of cargo to main operating bases or directly to forward bases in the deployment area. It measures an impressive 174 feet long with a wingspan of 169 feet, but can land and take off from a 3,500 foot runway!

Canadian National Demonstration Team CF-18 Hornet:
The 2011 CF-18 Demonstration Team exemplifies the professionalism, dedication and teamwork demonstrated by each and every member of the Canadian Forces. The team will lift off on its 2011 air show season at our Salute to Veterans Celebration. This year the CF-18 Demo Team honors the inherent resilience of military families as they pay tribute to the sacrifices they make in support of Canada. Piloted by Captain Erick O’Connor of 409 Squadron at Cold Lake, Alberta, the 2011 Demo Hornet will feature brilliant tail art to highlight the “Supporting our Military Families” theme, one that complements our Salute to Veterans Theme. The Canadian Forces recognizes that family members are a most important source of strength and in return they deserve firm commitment to support and honor them. As the Canadian Air Force’s front line multi-role fighter, the CF-18 plays a vital role in Canada’s NORAD commitments in protecting North American airspace 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.

United States Air Force A-10 West Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team:
The A-10 Thunderbolt’s demonstration is designed to highlight the superior performance and characteristics of the aircraft. The combination of high and low speed maneuvering, rapid rolls, performance climbs and descents are awesome.

The LIMA LIMA Aerobatic Demonstration Team:
They will be Flying SIX United States Navy T-34 Mentor’s in a thrilling 20-minute aerobatic routine with music and narration as a Salute to the 100th Anniversary of Naval Aviation. The turn rates for the T-34 are double those of the F-16 and F/A-18 fighter planes and that results in a dramatic performance that keeps the action in front of spectators for the entire show.

United States Army 101st Airborne “Screaming Eagles” Parachute Team:
The “Screaming Eagles” are returning to delight audiences at the Salute to Veterans Airshow. On Thursday, May 26th, at 10:00AM they will they will parachute from a WWII C-47 Dakota into Sedalia’s Smith-Cotton Practice Field in front of thousands of students and their families. On Monday, May 30th, Memorial Day, at 9:55am, they will “jump-start” the Salute to Veterans Parade by parachuting into five intersections on Broadway in downtown Columbia.

Canadian Forces Parachute Team, the Skyhawks:
We are proud to welcome back our wonderful Allies, the Canadian Forces Parachute Team, the Skyhawks, as they celebrate their 40th Anniversary Season. Led by Team Captain, Mark Sheppard, they will once again descend from the skies demonstrating their spectacular and unique relative canopy work. Their aerobatic performance will visually captivate spectators in a show that highlights technical expertise and thrilling parachute formation.

WWII United States Navy SNJ Texan Aerobatic Demonstration:
This USN American-made war bird will be flying in a beautifully choreographed acrobatic low show routine with patriotic music and dialogue that honors each and every veteran at the Airshow. It also will be saluting the 100th Anniversary of Naval Aviation.

United States Army K-9 Corps Demonstration Team, Ft. Leonard Wood, MO.:
Military working dogs first entered service in March of 1942 to serve in the Army's K-9 Corps. Today, they have an actual military service record book assigned to them, and missions these dogs perform include: explosives detection; security, patrol; search and rescue; and guard duty.

WWI Kansas City Dawn Patrol:
The Famous WWI "Flying Circus" of the Kansas City Dawn Patrol returns for the 19th year with even more planes added to their menagerie on the tarmac and flying, including two that were used in the Movie "Amelia".

The U.S. Army “Strength in Action Tour” with FIVE interactive elements:
Guitar Hero with Stage; Strength to Soar Aviation Element, allowing spectators to “fly” a helicopter; Strength of Technology Robotics Element; Strength of Body Fitness Element; and Strength to Lead: the ROTC Leadership Challenge, all available for audience participation.

Static Display of Military Aircraft from All Eras:
Major vintage and active duty military Aircraft will be on the tarmac for a close up look including; Twelve WWI airplanes; A-1D Skyraider; C-130 Hercules, AV-8B Harrier; A-10 Thunderbolts; USN Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion; two P-51 Mustangs including the famous “Tuskegee Airmen”, a B-25 Mitchell Bomber and more.

Food, Beverage and Military and Aviation Souvenirs and Memorabilia Tents.

Honored Guests and Volunteers Banquet, Saturday, May 28, 5:30 PM, Hearne’s Center: It is the high point of the 6-day Salute to Veterans Celebration and we issue an invitation to the public to attend! Tickets are only $40.00 a person for a carved buffet and fine wine on each of the tables of eight. So start collecting your friends, family and colleagues and make your plans to take a table this year! The program includes the introduction of all of the Military Demonstration Teams; Special Guests; reunion groups of the Tuskegee Airmen and Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP); Recognition of the Honored Military Guests; Awards to Volunteers; and an Auction for the Endowment Fund of wonderful items including aviation and military artwork and jewelry. The evening ends with a patriotic musical video “Salute to Our Armed Forces and Our Allies” and a stirring rendition of “God Bless America” by Major General Arnold Fields, USMC, Ret. Come join us and bring your family, neighbors and friends to this not-to-be-missed heartwarming evening. Call, Fax or E-mail your reservations to: Kimberly Boyer: Phone: 573 449-0018; Fax: 573 443-4297; or E-Mail:

Salute to Veterans Parade, 9:55am, Memorial Day, May 30, downtown Columbia:

Jump-Started by the USA 101st Airborne “Screaming Eagles” parachuting into five intersections on Broadway and over 155-units, including Military Reunion Groups, bands, Honored Guests and all the aircraft from the Airshow flying cover overhead as a tribute to fallen comrades.

Military Ceremony at the Boone County Courthouse, Memorial Day, May 30, 11 am:
50 wreaths will have been placed, the Columbia Community Band plays, a short speech by the ranking military officer Honored Guest on the meaning of Memorial Day, followed by “Amazing Grace” by the Bagpipers Band, a 21-Gun Salute, and then Echo Taps brings the 2011 6-day Salute to Veterans Celebration to a close.

Please Note: The Celebration should not be referred to as “the Columbia Airshow”, “Columbia’s Memorial Day Airshow”, this “Columbia Event”, “Columbia’s Memorial Day Weekend”, etc., or any other designation that would imply that it is hosted, organized, or anyway produced or sponsored by The City Of Columbia, its Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, or the State Of Missouri. It is presented solely by the Memorial Day Weekend Salute To Veterans Corporation, a private, 501c3, not-for-profit, tax-deductible, educational, Missouri Company. The Corporation consists of over 3,000 volunteers and 100 volunteer committee chairmen, none of whom is paid.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Zenith Aircraft In Mexico, MO To Have High Representation at EAA AirVenture

Designer Chris Heintz - Zenith Aircraft Photo

EAA Press Release:

Likely the largest gathering of Zenith aircraft owners and builders ever assembled will convene on Oshkosh at AirVenture 2011 to celebrate company's various models of airplanes and the man who created them. Over the years, Chris Heintz has introduced more than a dozen successful kit aircraft designs, including the STOL CH 701, Zodiac CH 601, CH 650 LS and LSi, STOL CH 801, Zodiac XL, STOL CH 750 light-sport utility kit airplane, and CH 2000.

"Zeniths to Oshkosh" is a grassroots effort created through various Internet groups involving owners and enthusiasts from around the world. Zeniths to Oshkosh organizers have reserved an entire floor of dorm rooms at UW-Oshkosh's Gruenhagen Conference Center - there's already a waiting list established for those - and they're also arranging private housing for other participants. Attendees are coming from as far away as Australia and New Zealand, said Joe Scheibinger, 601 builder/owner from Oshkosh. "An Army Major serving his country in Afghanistan is even planning to come to Oshkosh on his leave," he said.

Fifty aircraft parking spaces have been reserved in the Homebuilts area, and they're expected to be filled, with about 25 owners already reserving a spot. "It looks like getting 50 Zeniths to Oshkosh will be a lot easier than I thought," Scheibinger said, adding that Zenith owners who bring their airplanes to Oshkosh will receive a commemorative presentation plaque.

Monday will be designated Chris Heintz Day and will include a special recognition event on the West Ramp with examples of Heintz-designed aircraft followed by showcase flights. Other events during the week will include forum presentations on the various Zenith models, an address by Chris Heintz at the Homebuilders Hangar, and a banquet. Planning for these events is ongoing and will be announced when finalized.

For more information, e-mail Scheibinger or call 920-237-1450.

Friday, March 25, 2011

St. Louis Aviation Pioneer Carl "Chub" Wheeler, 99, Honored by Local Daedalian Flight

Carl "Chub" Wheeler (right) Was Honored for Lifetime Achievement

Carl "Chub" Wheeler was honored for a lifetime of achievement in aviation at last night's local Daedalian Flight meeting.  For Wheeler, who will turn 100 years old later this year, that is close to two lifetimes for the rest of us!   He learned to fly at Curtiss-Steinberg Airport (later Parks Airport and now St. Louis Downtown Airport) in 1934, earned his private and transport licenses, operated a flight school, taught Army Air Corps pilots during World War II, managed the renamed Parks Airport in the 1950s, flew corporate DC-3s for Monsanto and the St. Louis Post Dispatch, and continued flying his vintage Fairchild 24 for years after "retirement."  He still shares his unique perspective of St. Louis aviation in a style that leaves the listener with the feeling of having been there right along with him.  Joining with the Daedalians and the St. Louis aviation community, The Aero Experience salutes Chub Wheeler!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Navy's New Boeing EA-18G Growler Combat Debut; Strike Eagle Down

New Boeing EA-18G Growler Joins the Fight Over Libya...

(Boeing Photo)

F-15E Strike Eagle Down in Libya - Appears to Be 91-0304...

(Fox News Photo)

(Fox News Photo)

EAA Webinar Gives Great Advice on How to Pass Your Check Ride

Tonight's Webinar: Prepare for Your Checkride, and Pass!

This presentation will tell you the things you need to do before you go to your checkride to make it easier. You will also learn about the common mistakes applicants make during their checkrides, in both the oral part and the flight, and how to avoid them.

If you missed this webinar, check back in about 24 hours!

EAA 32 Young Eagles Event Gathers Diverse Aircraft At St. Charles County Airport

Saturday, March 19, 2011

EAA 32 Has Large Turnout for Young Eagles Event With Jeff Skiles and Rod Hightower

Young Eagles Flights were conducted for youth 8-17 years old in a variety of aircraft:

No child was left behind...

EAA President Rod Hightower arrived in his Stearman and gave several Young Eagles Flights:

Flight Simulators were also available:

Jeff Skiles, Young Eagles Co-Chairman and First Officer on US Air "Miracle on the Hudson" flight spoke to the next generation of pilots and announced new Young Eagles initiatives:

Friday, March 18, 2011

Lambert Aircraft 1934 Monocoupe D-145 Removed from Lambert St. Louis Airport at Start of Renovation Plan; Now at SRT Aviation at Mount Vernon, MO

Renovations Set to Begin in Terminal 1

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport will begin the most intense phase of its Airport Experience renovations in April with the launch of multiple construction projects in Terminal 1. As early as April 4, construction walls will be erected throughout most of the terminal’s lower level between the entrances to the A and C Concourses. Construction will proceed in phases through late 2012 to improve passenger services, airport operations and deliver a dramatic visual makeover of Lambert’s historic facility, which was designed by architect Minoru Yamasaki (1956).

Improvements include:

■Relocation of C Concourse checkpoint to accommodate latest passenger screening equipment.

■Introducing brighter ceiling treatments in lower level that includes programmable LED light fixtures on structural columns.

■New atrium to connect ticketing and lower levels

■New baggage claim restrooms; renovation of existing restrooms.

■New ticket counters and Terrazzo flooring on upper level Ticketing Hall

■New signage and directories.

■Introduce “St. Louis Stage,” a dedicated performance area in lower level.

■Incorporate new interactive and static art displays in renovated areas

The Airport has opened up a demonstration area to showcase lower level improvements including new columns, programmable LED column caps and lighting. The area is located across from Great American Bagel Bakery.

In advance of the construction, the Airport is removing the historic 1934 Monocoupe D-145 plane (once owned by Charles Lindbergh) which is currently on display over the C Concourse Checkpoint. The plane will be restored over the next 12 months during checkpoint relocation project and re-installed after construction is completed in that areas.

(Lambert-St. Louis Airport News Release)

Monday, March 14, 2011

New Book About St. Lous Aviation Due Out April 9

For a little more than 60 years, from 1904 to 1967, St. Louis was considered the world’s air capitol for balloon racers, parachutists, airship aeronauts, air-traffic controllers, scheduled airlines, solo-flight adventurers, fighter pilots, and astronauts. At many times, the United States has led the world in aviation development and technology, and St. Louis was one of the biggest contributors with many aviation firsts:

 A U.S. president first flew in an aircraft here. St. Louis can arguably be credited with the world’s first parachute jump, along with the world’s first air-traffic controller. The city was the epicenter for international balloon racing, and of course most people know that the city was home to Charles Augustus Lindbergh. The cold war and subsequent conflicts might have turned out quite differently if a St. Louis aircraft manufacturer had not existed. The world’s largest airline may have never gotten off the ground if not for a U.S. mail contract that was awarded to a St. Louis company in the mid-1920s.  This book provides a brief view of these firsts in aviation, as well as the development and impact of aviation in the city and beyond. 

Jeremy Cox is vice president at JetBrokers, Inc., a professional aircraft sales company. He is also a staff writer at World Aircraft Sales Magazine,, Forbes Wheels Up, and Fly Corporate Magazine. In 1987, Jeremy was elected by the Royal Aeronautical Society as a technician of the organization. He currently serves as president of the Greater St. Louis Air and Space Museum, which is based at the Historic Hangar Two at KCPS.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Kyle and Amanda Franklin Injured in Texas Airshow Accident

Kyle and Amanda Franklin were seriously injured yesterday during their "Pirated Skies" routine at the Air Fiesta Airshow in Bownsville, Texas.  Kyle Franklin landed the aircraft as best he could after the engine apparently caught fire while Amanda Franklin was on the top wing rack.  She climbed back into the aircraft as it approached the ground, and both received burns as they exited the aircraft.  More details can be found at Aero News.  The Franklins performed at the 2010 Cape Girardeau Airshow (See photos above).  Our thoughts and prayers go out for a rapid recovery.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

How the Helicopter Changed Modern Warfare - Latest Aviation History Book by Walter Boyne

( Image)

"Walter Boyne has made what could be a prosaic subject read like one of his thrillers. It never slows and is packed with an immense amount of information and sometimes alarming, but illuminating, insights.

This guy is good!" -Budd Davisson, editor in chief, Flight Journal magazine.

"Anyone interested in helicopters or flying generally will find this book indispensable." -Philip Handleman, Handleman Filmworks.

"In yet another home run, Walter Boyne sets forth and definitively explains the transformational importance the helicopter has gained on American battlefields from Korea to Iraq and Afghanistan. This is an insightful and thought-provoking book." -Eric Hammel, author, The Road to Big Week.

The vertical lift aircraft was a unique invention when introduced to combat during World War II. Since then, it has changed the way we perform transport, soldier extraction, and close air support. Carefully cataloging the steps from idealistic concept to fantastic killing machine, this historical overview touches on the major points of the helicopter's developmental journey. The helicopter has proven advantageous in overcoming problematic geography and terrain and has empowered the United States military in ways previously unimaginable. Unfortunately a combination of factors, including arguments over the machine's role in the military, operating costs, maintenance, and the increased attention toward nuclear weapons, has stalled its progress. Blaming Congress and the Department of Defense for this irresponsible oversight, this account simultaneously pays tribute to all those who made the technological advancements possible.

Walter J. Boyne co-founded the cable channel Wingspan, the Air and Space Channel, which was bought out by the Discovery Channel in 1998. Since then he has appeared as a commentator, discussing aviation, space, and military events on broadcast networks and on such cable channels as the History Channel, A&E, the Discovery Channel, and the Military Channel. Boyne, a retired air force colonel, was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2007 and was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Medal by the Air Force Association in 2010. He is the author of more than fifty fiction and nonfiction books on his subject of expertise, including The Influence of Air Power upon History, available from Pelican. He resides in Silver Spring, Maryland, with his wife, Terri. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

EAA Webinar Recreates the Battle of Britain

(Vintage Wings of Canada Photo)

Tonight's EAA Webinar was hosted by Rob Erdos from Vintage Wings of Canada.  He compared and contrasted the Spitfire, Hurricane and Me-109 from pre-flight to touchdown based on his own flights in all three aircraft.  If you did not participate live, check back tomorrow for the archived version!