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

Sunday, July 31, 2011

CAF's B-29 "Fifi" Arrives at Spirit of St. Louis Airport TAC Air Terminal

The Commemorative Air Force's B-29 "Fifi" arrived at Spirit of St. Louis Airport's TAC Air terminal today around 4:30 p.m.  It was joined by the MO CAF B-25J Mitchell "Show Me" on the apron.  "Fifi" will be in St. Louis for the next few days, and rides will be given as they are reserved.  B-29 combat veteran, Dick Windler, was on hand to welcome the B-29.  A crowd of enthusiasts gathered to view the aircraft, and here are a few photos of the event.  More coverage will follow this week. 

CAF's B-29 "Fifi" Taxis In After Landing in St. Louis, MO (Mark Nankivil Photo)

B-29 Combat Veteran, Dick Windler, Poses In Front of "Fifi" (Mark Nankivil Photo)

CAF B-29 "Fifi" at Spirit of St. Louis Airport, MO

CAF's B-29 "Fifi" Bomb Bay

Aviation Enthusiasts Gather to View CAF's B-29 "Fifi" in St. Louis

CAF's B-29 "Fifi" Attracts Attention in St. Louis

MO CAF B-25J "Show Me" Arrives at Spirit of St. Louis Airport

MO CAF B-25J "Show Me" Is Positioned Near B-29 "Fifi"

Saturday, July 30, 2011

CC Pocock, South African Bush Pilot, Scheduled to Speak at St. Louis Downtown Airport Fire Station August 2, 7p.m.

Everything he learned the hard way, they will learn his way.

A gritty new docu-series follows legendary bush pilot CC Pocock each week as he toughens up American pilots at his bush and mountain flying school, chases car thieves as a part-time pursuit pilot, and manages some of the world’s most interesting air traffic at his grass strip in the Crocodile River Mountains, South Africa.

In the sky, CC teaches everything he learned the hard way, including how to survive the wind conditions, mechanical failures and stall scenarios that kill hundreds of pilots every year. Based at his home and airfield for 72 hours, his students (ranging from airline captains to celebrity pilots) master CC’s unorthodox methods and experience his whirlwind life tracking stolen cars, cooking and “carrying on” in his Bush Pilot’s Pub and “shooing” the occasional spitting cobra from his hangar.

For CC, it’s just another week in the bush. For his guests, it’s a three-day adventure that will transform them as pilots and people, and could someday save their lives.

Meet CC and hear his stories Tuesday August 2, 2011 -- 7:00 pm St. Louis Downtown Airport Fire Station
6100 Archview Drive
Cahokia, IL 62206-1445

Beautiful 1956 Beech Twin Bonanza Stops in St. Louis from Texas

"Red Tails" Movie Celebrating The Tuskegee Airmen Premiers January 20, 2012

CAF Red Tail Squadron's P-51C Mustang in Columbia, MO in 2010

Charles McGee, Tuskegee Airman, in Columbia, MO 2010

The Aero Experience welcomes the production of the George Lucas Film, "Red Tails," due to premier in January 2012.  The Commemorative Air Force's P-51C Mustang "Tuskegee Airmen" and Col. Charles McGee, one of the original service pilots, regularly visit the Salute to Veterans Airshow in Columbia, MO.  A trailer can be seen below.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Aero Experience Mourns the Loss of Fair St. Louis Airshow Performer Greg Poe

Greg Poe at Fair St. Louis Airshow July 3, 2011

The Aero Experience mourns the loss of Fair St. Louis performer Greg Poe of an apparent heart attack yesterday at the age of 57.  St. Louis airshow fans were thrilled by his performance three weeks ago, and he was gracious in greeting attendees at the special needs air show held at St. Louis Downtown Airport July 3.  According to the Greg Poe Airshows web site, the airshow team and Ryan J. Poe Foundation will continue to function in some format in the near future. 

Those wishing to make contributions to Greg’s memory can do so by making a donation to the Ryan J. Poe Foundation, 518 Dishman Place, Caldwell, ID 83605. Tributes can also be made by credit card via phone at (208) 455-0700.  Visit for more details.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Air Associates of Missouri Requests Your Help Stopping User Fees

Air Associates Graphic


Dear Aviation Professional,

User fees are back, and our industry needs to act. The situation has only become more pressing, and I need you to take renewed action; here’s why.

As the stalemate in the negotiations over the debt ceiling between the White House and congress continues, and the deadline for finding a resolution looms ever closer, policymakers have continued to explore a host of proposals for raising revenues, including user fees. Discussions have included proposals for per-flight fees ranging from $25 to $100 and beyond.

Clearly, we need to raise the volume on this issue with congress. NBAA has established a toll-free Legislative Action hotline you can use to call upon your representatives to oppose user fees in any debt-ceiling legislation. The number to use is: 1-877-727-5074

Once you dial the number, you'll receive confirmation that you have reached NBAA’s Legislative Action hotline. You’ll then be asked to enter your postal zip code, so that you can be matched with your Representative and two Senators. After that, some simple points you can make in your conversations with your legislators will be provided.

We need your help to stop user fees. We know they have greatly harmed general aviation in parts of the world where they are in place. We know they would create an enormous administrative burden for compliance with a new collection bureaucracy. We know that if they were implemented as part of the current debate in Washington, they would do nothing to strenghten our nation’s aviation system for the future.

Like all Americans, the business aviation community understands that the nation's debt and deficit are serious issues that must be addressed. But, user fees for general aviation would be devastating to an industry that directly generates much-needed jobs and economic acitivity. I know we can count on you to call your members of congress today, and ensure that they understand this message.

Thank you for your continued support.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Airship Ventures Zepplin Eureka Scheduled to Visit St. Louis Downtown Airport Aug. 16-21

Airship Ventures Photo

The Airship Ventures Zepplin "Eureka" is scheduled to visit the St. Louis area August 16-21 at St. Louis Downtown Airport.  Having a real Zepplin in St. Louis is just one more exciting event to add to the busy local aviation summer that includes Waco Club Fly-In, Great Plains Air Expo, Marine Week St. Louis, Fair St. Louis Airshow, B-29 "Fifi" visit, EAA Ford Trimotor visit, Great Forest Park Balloon Race, St. Louis Regional Airport Fly-In, Incredible Adventures visit, American Heroes Airshow and hopefully more!  Check the aviation event calendar on the right column for details.

FindTheData Presents Comparative Data on Aviation Medical Examiners

Looking for an aviation medical examiner?  Visit FindTheData and use the simple search menu at .  The FAA database search menu includes an option that compares each choice to help the reader choose the most appropriate medical examiner according to specialty and examination class level offered.  This link will be located on the right column of preferred links for future reference.  While you are at FindTheData, browse the other categories for your personal needs as well.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Boeing, US Navy Mark Harpoon Missile System's 40th Anniversary

Full-Size Harpoon Mockup, James S. McDonnell Prologue Room at Boeing IDS HQ

News Release Issued: July 21, 2011 4:00 PM EDT

Boeing, US Navy Mark Harpoon Missile System's 40th Anniversary

Harpoon is the Navy’s all-weather, over-the-horizon, anti-ship missile system

More than 7,200 Harpoons delivered to US Navy and international customers

ST. CHARLES, Mo., July 21, 2011 -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] and the U.S. Navy recognized the 40th anniversary of the Harpoon Missile System today at a ceremony near the company’s St. Charles facility.

“After four decades of cooperation with our Navy partners, Boeing’s dedicated and talented Harpoon team continues to find innovative ways to meet the needs of warfighters on today’s ever-changing battlefields,” said Debbie Rub, vice president and general manager for Boeing Missiles and Unmanned Airborne Systems (MUAS). “Throughout the life of this legacy program, Boeing has continually incorporated system upgrades to enhance the Harpoon’s reach and interoperability.”

"Today marks another significant milestone for the program. Our Navy-Boeing team has worked hard to consistently deliver a capable and reliable weapon to our fleet and to dozens of nations. The Harpoon is one of Naval Air System Command's largest international programs, proving its success over the past 40 years," said Rear Adm. William E. Shannon, Program Executive Officer for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons.

Boeing has delivered more than 7,200 Harpoon and Harpoon Block II missiles for the U.S. Navy and more than 30 international military customers since the inaugural Harpoon contract was awarded by Naval Air Systems Command on June 21, 1971. Boeing received the Harpoon Block II contract on Nov. 16, 1998. More than 600 ships, 180 submarines, 12 different types of aircraft and land-based launch vehicles carry Harpoon missiles.

Nearly 300 Boeing team members develop, build, maintain and provide operational support for Harpoon at the St. Charles facility, which opened in July 1979.

Harpoon Block II missiles feature autonomous, all-weather, over-the-horizon capability and can execute missions against sea and land targets, including coastal defense sites, surface-to-air missile sites, exposed aircraft, port or industrial facilities, and ships in port.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

James S. McDonnell Prologue Room at Boeing IDS in St. Louis Honors Boeing, Douglas, North American and McDonnell Legacies

Boeing IDS HQ is located in St. Louis County, MO

Veterans Memorial adjacent to Boeing IDS HQ dedicated in 2005

Large F-15 Eagle model stands outside the Prologue Room  

Entrance to the Prologue Room

Wall of Honor: William Boeing, Donald Douglas, James Kindelberger, James S. McDonnell

Lobby theater is popular with tour groups

Large Blue Angels F/A-18A Hornet Model

Aircraft Lineage display tracks developments from 1920s to present

Mercury and Gemini spacecraft full-scale engineering development fixtures

Mercury spacecraft full-scale engineering development fixture

Gemini spacecraft full-scale engineering development fixture

Military aircraft model display

Weapons and spacecraft display

Commercial aircraft model display

For more information about visiting the James S. McDonnell Prologue Room, go to for details.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Happy 90th Birthday, John Glenn!

St. Louis, home of the Mercury Spacecraft, wishes John Glenn a happy 90th Birthday!

(NASA Photo)

(NASA Photo)

(NASA Photo)

(NASA Photo)

(NASA Photo)

Official NASA Biography
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

John H. Glenn Research Center
Lewis Field
Cleveland, Ohio 44135

John Herschel Glenn, Jr. (Colonel, USMC, Ret.)
NASA Astronaut

Born July 18, 1921 in Cambridge, Ohio. Married to the former Anna Margaret Castor of New Concord, Ohio. They have two grown children and two grandchildren.

Glenn attended primary and secondary schools in New Concord, Ohio. He attended Muskingum College in New Concord and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering. Muskingum College also awarded him an honorary Doctor of Science degree in engineering. He has received honorary doctoral degrees from nine colleges or universities.

Glenn has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on six occasions, and holds the Air Medal with 18 Clusters for his service during World War II and Korea. Glenn also holds the Navy Unit Commendation for service in Korea, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the China Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation, the Navy's Astronaut Wings, the Marine Corps' Astronaut Medal, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, and the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. On March 1, 1999, NASA renamed its Cleveland center the "John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field" in his honor.

He entered the Naval Aviation Cadet Program in March 1942 and was graduated from this program and commissioned in the Marine Corps in 1943. After advanced training, he joined Marine Fighter Squadron 155 and spent a year flying F-4U fighters in the Marshall Islands.

During his World War II service, he flew 59 combat missions. After the war, he was a member of Marine Fighter Squadron 218 on the North China patrol and served on Guam. From June 1948 to December 1950 Glenn was an instructor in advanced flight training at Corpus Christi, Texas. He then attended Amphibious Warfare Training at Quantico, Virginia. In Korea he flew 63 missions with Marine Fighter Squadron 311. As an exchange pilot with the Air Force Glenn flew 27 missions in the F-86 Sabrejet. In the last nine days of fighting in Korea Glenn downed three MIG's in combat along the Yalu River.

After Korea, Glenn attended Test Pilot School at the Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, Maryland. After graduation, he was project officer on a number of aircraft. He was assigned to the Fighter Design Branch of the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics (now Bureau of Naval Weapons) in Washington from November 1956 to April 1959, during which time he also attended the University of Maryland.

In July 1957, while project officer of the F8U Crusader, he set a transcontinental speed record from Los Angeles to New York, spanning the country in 3 hours and 23 minutes. This was the first transcontinental flight to average supersonic speed. Glenn has nearly 9,000 hours of flying time, with approximately 3,000 hours in jet aircraft.

Glenn was assigned to the NASA Space Task Group at Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia, in April 1959 after his selection as a Project Mercury Astronaut. The Space Task Group was moved to Houston and became part of the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center (now Johnson Space Center) in 1962. Glenn flew on Mercury-6 (February 20, 1962) and STS-95 (October 29 to November 7, 1998), and has logged over 218 hours in space. Prior to his first flight, Glenn had served as backup pilot for Astronauts Shepard and Grissom. When astronauts were given special assignments to ensure pilot input into the design and development of spacecraft, Glenn specialized in cockpit layout and control functioning, including some of the early designs for the Apollo Project. Glenn resigned from the Manned Spacecraft Center on January 16, 1964. He was promoted to the rank of Colonel in October 1964 and retired from the Marine Corps on January 1, 1965. He was a business executive from 1965 until his election to the United States Senate in November 1974. Glenn retired from the U.S. Senate in January 1999.

On February 20, 1962, Glenn piloted the Mercury-Atlas 6 "Friendship 7" spacecraft on the first manned orbital mission of the United States. Launched from Cape Canaveral (Florida) Launch Complex 14, he completed a successful three-orbit mission around the earth, reaching a maximum altitude (apogee) of approximately 162 statute miles and an orbital velocity of approximately 17,500 miles per hour. Glenn's "Friendship 7" Mercury spacecraft landed approximately 800 miles southeast of Cape Canaveral in the vicinity of Grand Turk Island. Mission duration from launch to impact was 4 hours, 55 minutes, and 23 seconds.

STS-95 Discovery (October 29 to November 7, 1998) was a 9-day mission during which the crew supported a variety of research payloads including deployment of the Spartan solar-observing spacecraft, the Hubble Space Telescope Orbital Systems Test Platform, and investigations on space flight and the aging process. The mission was accomplished in 134 Earth orbits, traveling 3.6 million miles in 213 hours and 44 minutes.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Missouri Aviation Historical Society Welcomes B-29 Pilot Ahead of "Fifi" Visit

Members of the Missouri Aviation Historical Society were awed by fellow member Dick Windler, former USAAF B-29 pilot who flew 35 missions over Japan, as he reflected on his experience as a USAAF bomber pilot.  After flying B-17s and B-24s in Europe, Mr. Windler flew B-29s during and after the allied bombing campaign against Japan.  His story is featured in the new book, B-29 Combat Missions, by Donald Nijboer and Steve Pace.   At 90 years young, Dick Windler is looking forward to visiting the only flying B-29, "Fifi," when it arrives in St. Louis next month.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum Displays Jetstar Once Owned by Howard Hughes

Lockheed Jetstar, s/n 5145, arrived at the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum in early 2007 and has since stood guard in front of the museum's historic 1929 Curtiss-Wright hangar.