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, January 29, 2012

Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum Displays St. Louis-Built Aircraft in Center Hangar

By Carmelo Turdo
The Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum, located at Creve Coeur Airport in west St. Louis County, is known for its collection of pristine, flyable pre-war period aircraft.  The museum is now offering a display of all St. Louis-made aircraft in its central hangar, and The Aero Experience has received a sneak peek at this incredible arrangement.  Aircraft included in the collection are 1943 Laister Kauffman LK-10A sailplane, 1931 Curtiss-Wright 15-D Sedan, 1936 Travel Air 16-E, 1932 Monocoupe 90, 1929 St. Louis Cardinal, 1935 Piper (Taylor) E-2, 1933 Flagg F13, 1926 Ryan M-1,1931 Nicholas Beazley NB-8G, 1936 Star Cavalier, Curtiss-Wright Robin, among others.  Put this museum on your must-see list this year, especially during the Waco Club Fly-In.  For more information, visit

Laister Kauffman LK-10A

Ryan M-1

Monocoupe 90

Curtiss-Wright 15-D Sedan

Nicholas Beazley NB-8G

Curtiss-Wright Robin

Flagg F13

Travel Air 16-E

St. Louis Aircraft Cardinal

Piper (Taylor) E-2

Missouri Commemorative Air Force Wing Readies for Airshow Season

By Carmelo Turdo
The Missouri Wing of the Commemorative Air Force is gearing up for the 2012 air show season at St. Charles County Smartt Airport, just west of St. Louis.  Since 1982, the Missouri Wing has carried out the Commemorative Air Force mission of "education through living history" by preserving and demonstrating World War II era aircraft and vehicles locally and throughout the country.  There is nothing like seeing a B-25J Mitchell bomber, TBM-3E Avenger torpedo bomber or Aeronca 65TAC/L-3E observation aircraft up close, hearing their engines chugging along, and even putting yourself back in time by taking a flight in one of them.  Currently, the B-25J Show Me and the TBM Avenger are undergoing annual maintenance in preparation for the fast-approaching air show season.  Special thanks to the Missouri CAF for hosting The Aero Experience this weekend - here are some scenes from our tour:     

TBM-3E Avenger Undergoing Annual Maintenance 

B-25J Mitchell Undergoes Annual Maintenance


L-3E Prepares for Afternoon Flight

Missouri CAF Member Greg Vallero's AT-6F Texan Is Readied Warbird Rides

For more information about the Missouri Wing of the CAF, please visit  Greg Vallero's Texan will soon be available for warbird rides.  Contact him at to reserve your slot. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Marine MV-22B Osprey Stops for Fuel and Food at St. Louis Downtown Airport

By Carmelo Turdo
A Marine MV-22B Osprey stopped in at St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia, IL today for a brief fuel stop on a delivery flight from the Bell Helicopter plant in Amarillo, Texas.  The inter-service crew parked in front of the Greater St. Louis Air and Space Museum in Curtiss-Wright Hangar 2 and received fuel from neighboring Ideal Aviation.  After getting some lunch, the two Marines and one Air Force pilot spoke briefly to a gathering of "ramp rats" before spooling up and taking off.  The Osprey flew towards the St. Louis Gateway Arch on their way to an unknown destination.  Here are a few photos of the aircraft and crew:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Apollo 1 Crew Remembered on Anniversary of Tragic Fire

By Carmelo Turdo
The crew of Apollo 1 will be remembered across America January 27 on the 45th anniversary of the tragic fire that destroyed the spacecraft and killed 3 astronauts at Cape Kennedy Launch Complex 34.  The crew consisted of Lt. Colonel Virgil Ivan “Gus” Grissom (USAF), command pilot; Lt. Colonel Edward Higgins White, II (USAF), senior pilot; and Lt. Commander Roger Bruce Chaffee (USN), pilot.  The accident occurred during the Plugs Out Integrated Test. The purpose of this test was to demonstrate all space vehicle systems and operational procedures in as near a flight configuration as practical and to verify systems capability in a simulated launch.  The mission was due to be launched on February 21, 1967 as the first manned Apollo flight.

Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee (NASA photo)
Selected in the first astronaut group of 1959, Grissom had been pilot of MR-4, America’s second and last suborbital flight, and command pilot of the first two-person flight, Gemini 3. Born on 3 April 1926 in Mitchell, Indiana, Grissom was 40 years old on the day of the Apollo 1 fire. Grissom received a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Purdue University in 1950. His backup for the mission was Captain Walter Marty “Wally” Schirra [shi-RAH] (USN).

Edward White had been pilot for the Gemini 4 mission, during which he became the first American to walk in space. He was born 14 November 1930 in San Antonio, Texas, and was 36 years old on the day of the Apollo 1 fire. He received a B.S. from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1952, an M.S. in aeronautical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1959, and was selected as an astronaut in 1962. His backup was Major Donn Fulton Eisele [EYES-lee] (USAF).

Chaffee was training for his first spaceflight. He was born 15 February 1935 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and was 31 years old on the day of the Apollo 1 fire. He received a B.S. in aeronautical engineering from Purdue University in 1957, and was selected as an astronaut in 1963. His backup was Ronnie Walter “Walt” Cunningham.

It was concluded that the most likely cause was a spark from a short circuit in a bundle of wires that ran to the left and just in front of Grissom's seat. The large amount of flammable material in the cabin in the oxygen environment allowed the fire to start and spread quickly. A number of changes were instigated in the program over the next year and a half, including designing a new hatch which opened outward and could be operated quickly, removing much of the flammable material and replacing it with self-extinguishing components, using a nitrogen-oxygen mixture at launch, and recording all changes and overseeing all modifications to the spacecraft design more rigorously. Ironically, the command and service modules (capsule and propellant/rocket/utility sections) were constructed by North American Aviation, not McDonnell Aircraft who designed the earlier successful Mercury and Gemini manned spacecraft.  Both North  American (Rockwell) and McDonnell (Douglas) were absorbed into the Boeing Company decades later.

The Mission Designation and Patch Design

The mission now known as Apollo 1 was originally designated AS-204, and the launch vehicle that finally bore the designation AS-204 carried a lunar module, or LM, as the payload, instead of a command module. The missions of AS-201 and AS-202 with Apollo spacecraft aboard had been unofficially known as Apollo 1 and Apollo 2 missions. AS-203 carried only the aerodynamic nose cone. On April 24,1967, NASA's Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, Dr. George E. Mueller, announced that the mission originally scheduled for Grissom, White and Chaffee would be known as Apollo 1, and said that the first Saturn V launch, scheduled for November 1967, would be known as Apollo 4. The eventual launch of AS-204 became known as the Apollo 5 mission. No missions or flights were ever designated Apollo 2 or 3.

Apollo I Patch (NASA graphic)
The patch worn by the astronauts of AS-204 did indeed have "Apollo 1" embroidered on it, worn on practice ground missions in 1966 and 1967.  Just a week before the tragedy, NASA withdrew its permission to label the mission "Apollo 1" until it was officially redesignated.  For more information about the evolution of the Apollo 1 mission patch, please visit

At 6:31:04 pm please pause to remember the crew of Apollo 1 - one of three crews who lost their lives in the pursuit of American manned space flight.

(Portions of this posting provided by NASA)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

2012 Midwest Aviation Conference and Trade Show In Full Swing This Weekend

By Carmelo Turdo
The 2012 Midwest Aviation Conference and Trade Show (MACTS) is in session this weekend at the Maryland Heights Centre in St. Louis County.  Sponsored by the Greater St. Louis Flight Instructors Association, the program offers technical and safety briefings as well as discussion of general aviation aviation topics.  The schedule of events is below:

January 2012 Saturday, January 21, 2012

9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Aviation Trade Show

9:00 a.m. – 9:50 a.m. Welcome and Introductions:
Fred Harms, Mr. Tyrone Gilliard, Gloria Bahn

10:00 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. Business Aspects of Flight Instruction, Peggy Chabrian

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon Flight Safety, Gregg Maryniak

12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m. Break/Lunch

1:00 p.m. – 1:50 p.m. NextGen, Central Region FAA Administrators Panel

2:00 p.m. – 2:50 p.m. Safety Trends in General Aviation, Jeff Edwards

6:15 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Awards Banquet- Keynote Speaker Rhonda Hamm-Neibregge Director, Lambert Airport

Some of the Trade Show Sponsors:

Air Associates

St. Charles Flying Service

Women With Wings and St. Louis 99s

EAA Chapter 32, St. Charles County Airport

St. Louis University Center for Aviation Safety Research 

Wicks Aircraft Supply

Sunday, January 22, 2012 Time Event Details  

10:30 a.m. – 11:20 a.m. Risk Management/Risk Intervention Strategies, Steve Hofmann

11:30 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. Pilot Proficiency Wings Program, John Teipen FAA Safety Team

12:20 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Lunch – Free Pizza Lunch

1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Learn to Fly – Adult & Youth Programs, Featuring: Craig O’mara Program Director. Guest: Dave Desmond, , Chief Test Pilot, Military Tactical Flight Operations for The Boeing Company

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Missouri Aviation Historical Society Meeting Features Tuskegee Airmen Presentation

By Carmelo Turdo
Myron Lane
The Missouri Aviation Historical Society's January meeting featured a presentation on the Tuskegee Airmen by member Myron Lane.  On the eve of the release of the movie, "Red Tails," a large number of attendees were present to learn more about the segregated 332nd Fighter Group and their service escorting American heavy bombers over Europe.  Case studies of local St. Louis area Tuskegee Airmen were discussed, and various paint schemes of the aircraft flown in the four squadrons of the 332nd FG were illustrated.  Special thanks to Myron and the leadership of the Missouri Aviation Historical Society for hosting this month's meeting. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fly a Mission With the Tuskegee Airmen and Experience the Red Tails Movie

By Carmelo Turdo
The January 20 premier of the movie "Red Tails" is rapidly approaching, but you can fly a virtual mission with the Tuskegee Airmen right now.  Fly your P-51 Mustang as a rookie fighter pilot and be ready for movie night!  Take off with a large formation of Mustangs and shoot down German fighters attacking your bombers.  As you gain more victories, you can access more exclusive web content such as historic video, pilot biographies and more.  Get comfortable, gas up your fighter plane and visit for interactive experiences that will make you an honorary "Red Tail."

Carl Cochran, Former Manager of Washington, MO Airport, Remembered

By Carmelo Turdo
Mr. Carl Cochran passed away on Jan 3, at the age of 89. Carl was very well known in the St. Louis aviation community, and among his many accomplishments, flew for Ozark Airlines, and managed the Washington, Missouri airport for nearly two decades. He will be greatly missed.  A memorial service is being planned for sometime in April at the Washington, MO airport.

The gives the following review of Mr. Cochran's aviation career:

Mr. Cochran was a pilot, flight instructor and airport manager in his long career in aviation that began in 1940.  He managed the Washington Municipal Airport, which now is a regional airport, from 1982 to 1997 when he retired at age 75. He and the airport weathered two major floods, in 1986 and 1993.

Because of his long career in aviation, he was widely known and is credited with "putting the Washington Airport on the map." Under his management, flight instruction and maintenance on aircraft brought many pilots to the airport. The airport was the location for many events, fly-ins and reunions. For a time, instructions were given in Stearman biplanes. It was the only place in the country where instructions were available in that aircraft.

Raised on a farm, he went to work at age 17 at an aircraft factory in Kansas City, Kan. With World War II under way, he enlisted in the Navy in 1942 and earned his wings in 1944. He flew land-based patrol bombers on many missions. After the war, he spent a number of years in the Naval reserves before retiring from the service.  Cochran ran a flying school in New Mexico for a period and learned to fly helicopters in 1948. He was one of only about 100 pilots certified to fly helicopters at that time. He flew for non-scheduled airlines, including one in Illinois that later became Ozark Airlines, headquartered in St. Louis. He flew for Ozark for 31 years. Ozark later was sold to TWA.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Air Associates of Missouri Posts Flight Training Class Schedule

By Carmelo Turdo
Air Associates of Missouri, located at Spirit of St. Louis Airport, is a Cessna Pilot Center and provides a wide range of maintenance services on single and twin engine aircraft, including the G1000 equipped Cessna.  They provide a modern, comfortable setting for your flight training and recurrent training classes and of course, use the latest training aircraft -Skycatcher, C172, C182 - and simulators.  Your outlook on life will be forever changed the first time you take the controls of a Cessna aircraft, flying through the air, far above the ground. This is what you were born to do. And the best place for you to begin your journey of flight is at Air Associates.

Simulator (Air Associates Photo)

NEW Instrument Flight Ground School Series - Tuesdays at 7pm

1/17: Understanding Your Instruments and Instrument Flying

1/24: IFR Navigation & Flight Planning

1/31: Weather

2/7: Departure Procedures

2/21: IFR En Route

2/28: Basic Arrival & Approach

3/6: Advanced Arrival & Approach

3/13: Regulations

3/20: Emergencies & Go/No-Go Decisions

3/27: G1000

4/2: G1000

Please call (636) 536-1341 to reserve your spot.