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, June 29, 2012

Missouri Aviation Historical Society Meeting Features Greater St. Louis Honor Flight

By Carmelo Turdo
This month's meeting of the Missouri Aviation Hostorical Society hosted representatives of the Greater St. Louis Honor Flight (GSLHF), whose mission is to safely transport World War II veterans to see their National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. This mission takes on urgency since veterans of this era are pasing away at a rapid rate – more than 900 a day nationally. 

Mr. Robert Graves, Flight Leader, and Mrs. Dayna Bischoff from the Daughters of the American Revolution discussed the need to support this worthy endeavor.  Mr. Bob Rockford, a veteran from a recent Honor Flight, described his experiences to the group.  Since its inception in 2009, the GSLHF has flown twenty-two Honor Flights with more than 550 veterans.  There are currently eight flights scheduled for this year, and more are desired.

Each mission begins around 3:00am, with each veteran assigned a guardian prior to boarding a Southwest Airlines flight to Baltimore Airport.  Typically, the veterans are recognized by the crew and passengers as they board the aircraft.  Upon arrival, a busy day begins.  The veterans and their guardians tour the war memorials on the National Mall, culminating at the World War II Memorial.  Often Bob or Elizabeth Dole greet the veterans there as they arrive.  A visit to Arlington national Cemetary to witness the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a moving experience.  "Mail Call," the highlight of any soldier's day, is also part of the agenda, with packets of letters provided by family and even strangers distributed to the veterans.  The group returns to St. Louis late into the evening to a crowd of family members and well-wishers as they deplane.   

Please visit the Greater St. Louis Honor Flight at and contribute your time and resources to this worthy mission!

Brian "Brain" Kissinger Record-Breaking Flight Press Release from Brain's Flight

Press Release for 4th of July WR flight for Homeless Veterans

AF Veteran and 2 Time Brain Cancer Survivor B.K. Kissinger will attempt a daring Aviation WR to Benefit Homeless Veterans via the Joseph Center on 4th of July.
On 4 July, 2012, Brian Kissinger, a 2-Time Brain Cancer Survivor, 100% Disabled (Enabled he says) Air Force Veteran will attempt his 3rd Aviation World Record starting and finishing at the St Louis Downtown airport (Cahokia, Illinois conveniently located on the Illinois side opposite the St Louis Arch).
As with Major Kissinger's previous records, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale ( and National Aeronautic Association will sanction and certify this new World and National Aviation Record. The FAI was founded on 14 October 1905 to certify record flights after the Wright Brothers First Flight on December 17, 1903. Major Kissinger's third World Record attempt is not just for fun or to set a new personal best, but instead to raise awareness and funds to help Homeless Veterans. Sadly, 1 out of 4 of the Homeless is a Veteran yet only 11% of our Nation’s current population are Veterans (according to a 2007 Gallup Poll Study). In order to help correct this sad reality, Major Kissinger encourages people to donate to Homeless Veterans via The Joseph Center located in East St Louis ( at 5020 State Street, East St. Louis, IL 62205.

People can donate by sending a check direct to the Center or by making an on-line donation at the PAX et AMOR website (NOTE: FOR Homeless Veterans). There will also be more information on how to volunteer & help in the coming days.  Love God and Help People is the simple message Major Kissinger’s record setting flight hopes to highlight as he flies, again, into the record books.
Contact Information:
Joseph Center: Martha Watts- 314-680-2599
Pax et Amor Inc.
Media: Cary Heyden Email:, Cell: 618-303-9473
Pilot: Brian Kissinger Email: Cell: 352-601-1908
Address: 606 Scott-Troy Road, Lebanon, IL 62254 & 7791 E. Floral Park Drive, Floral
City, FL 34436

EAA's B-17 "Aluminum Overcast" Available for Rides in St. Louis

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Brian "Brain" Kissinger Describes Plan for Record-Breaking Flight on July 4th

By Carmelo Turdo
Brian "Brain" Kissinger is preparing his Sonerai sport aircraft for a record-breaking flight attempt on July 4 to raise awareness and contributions toward alleviating homelessness among veterans in the East St. Louis area.  The flight is sponsored in part by the 26th Flight of the Order of Daedalians, EAA Chapter 64 and the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum and will be conducted prior to the Fair St. Louis air show performed above the Gateway Arch in downtown St. Louis.  Brian will use a Sonerai, developed by designer John Monnett, that has a steel and aluminum frame with fabric covering, and is powered by a converted VW engine.  For updates on the flight, please visit and to contribute to helping homeless veterans, visit

For an audio interview by Bob Priddy care of Missourinet, please visit and scroll down to the link.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Brian "Brain" Kissinger Record-Breaking Flight Planned to Help Homeless Veterans

By Carmelo Turdo
Brian "Brain" Kissinger is planning a record-breaking flight to raise awareness of, and provide assistance to, homeless veterans in the St. Louis area.  Brian and his support crew are veterans, and see this flight as an opportunity to help brothers and sisters in arms who need help coping with daily life on the streets.  "This flight is to raise awareness for the Joseph's Center and hoping to give them (homeless veterans) some hope, some money to help them gain self-sufficiency," Brian said this morning while taking time out from working on his aircraft.  He raises funds through his non-denominational ministry, Pax et Amor, that serves homeless veterans and cancer survivors (Brian has survived two bouts of brain cancer).  Please visit and please give generously to support Brian's ministry outreach efforts. 

Please check The Aero Experience for further postings on Brian's flight in the next few days.

Brian "Brain" Kissinger poses with the Sonerai aircraft he flies

EAA's B-17 "Aluminum Overcast" Available for Rides Next Week in St. Louis

By Carmelo Turdo
B-17 rides are available at St. Louis Downtown Airport on July 3rd and 4th and at Spirit of St. Louis Airport on July 6th & 7th. A limited number of seats (currently 4) are still available on Tuesday, July 3rd at 10:15.  On Wednesday, July 4th, 9 seats are available at 10:15 with even more seats available for a late afternoon flight about 5:30.  To reserve your seat, go to or call 1-800-FLY-NB17 (1-800-359-6217) until July 2nd. After noon on Monday, July 2nd, call 920-371-2244 for flight information - that number will not be available before July 2nd.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fair St. Louis Airshow to Feature Top National Performers

By Carmelo Turdo
The 2012 Fair St. Louis July 4th airshow will feature top national performers, such as the EAA's B-17 "Aluminum Overcast," Aeroshell Aerobatic Team flying AT-6 Texan warbirds, John Mohr in his Stearman trainer and Matt Younkin in his Beech 18 among others.  Join thousands of your closest friends on the grounds of the Gateway Arch in downtown St. Louis or view the show from Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park on the east side.  Here is a summary of the airshow performers currently posted on the Fair St. Louis web site     

The Fair Saint Louis Air Show will return skies above the Mississippi River on Wednesday, July 4 at 12 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Among the acts are the AeroShell Aerobatic Team, the U.S. Army Golden Knights, and Barnstormer John Mohr. Read more about them as well as our other spectacular acts below! Acts and performances are subject to changes and additions.

The Experimental Aircraft Associaton will bring its World War II B-17 bomber, Aluminum Overcast, to the skies above the Arch. Only 12,000 of these bombers were built during the war, and only thirteen are flying today. Two of these thirteen are certified to carry passengers, one of which Fair Saint Louis is honored to have as the centerpiece of the air show.

The Harrier Jump Jet will be returning to Saint Louis again this year as a repeat crowd favorite. The Fair Saint Louis air show is one of only twelve shows this year that will get to witness the majestic Harrier in action.

The AeroShell Aerobatic Team has been performing for over twenty-five years, amassing thousands of hours in front of airshow fans all over North America. Members of the team performing in St. Louis are Gene McNeely, Mark Henley, Steve Gustafson, and Bryan Regan.  They fly the agile AT-6 Texans, which were used as the primary platform for all U.S. airmen in World War II.

Pilot John Mohr has been thrilling crowds for more than 25 years, ever since his grandfather and father inspired him to his aviation success with their tales of barnstorming across the Midwest. He owns Mohr Barnstorming with his wife Lyn and says it has enabled them to “turn [their] passion into a profession.” He flies the 1943 Stock Stearman PT-17, which he uses for acrobatic routines, low-level and in-your-face acro.

The Iron Eagle Aerobatic Team is one of the most exciting teams flying the circuit today. Pilots Billy Segalla and Bill Gordon perform aerobatic routines in custom built planes, which they transformed from sport-aerobatic aircrafts into single-seat Super Christen Eagle I Biplanes with three years’ work. Only four of such planes are flying today. You won’t believe their dynamic speed and close maneuvers! 

John Klatt has awed millions of air show spectators across America with a unique blend of precision, power and performance. He has served in the Air National Guard for more than 20 years — flying combat, air support and humanitarian missions throughout the world in the F-16 “Fighting Falcon” and the C-130 “Hercules” aircraft.

Rob Holland was inspired to pursuing a career in aviation and aerobatics at a young age when his father brought him to his first air show. He became a licensed pilot at 18 and hasn’t stopped since, accumulating over 9500 hours of flight time in over 156 types of aircraft. He has earned numerous awards, including becoming the Advanced World Aerobatic Champion at the 8th Advanced World Aerobatic Championships in Oregon in 2008. He will fly the MX2 at the Fair Saint Louis Air Show, one of the most challenging and exciting aircraft in the world of aerobatics.

U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights

For over fifty-two years members of the U.S. Army Parachute Team have been marking the milestones of achievement and an evolution of excellence serving as “Ambassadors” of the Army’s only official Demonstration team. The Golden Knights portray the image of being the most formidable parachuting competitors and demonstrators in the world today. Annually, the team reaches a third of our nation by performing spectacular parachute demonstrations for the American public.

Since the age of 19 in 1979, Bob Carlton has logged over 2000 hours in a wide variety of aircraft and has since been know as one of the most versatile air show performers in North America. His tradition of innovation in his aircraft continues with the recent addition of the Super Salto jet sailplane, with more power, more speed, and more aerobatic capability than any other sailplane on the planet.

Matt Younkin is a third generation pilot who learned to fly at the age of 14. Matt is now proficient in over 50 types of aircraft and is a certified flight instructor, but his latest and greatest achievement is perfecting the world’s only night aerobatic display in the Beech 18. His day performance in the same aircraft has been described as “the most graceful and beautiful performance the air show industry has to offer.”

Skip Stewart is an airline transport pilot, certified flight instructor, and has owned and operated an aerobatic flight school on top of his ten years of experience entertaining airshow fans around the world. His flying has been featured in several national and international magazines, including Sports Illustrated and Auto Pilot. He flies a modified Pitts S-2S he calls “Prometheus” that he custom built himself.

Air Show Hall of Fame inductee Danny Clisham is the announcer for the 2012 Fair Saint Louis air show, and has been entertaining audiences with his lively, informative commentary for 46 years. Besides his impressive career in air show announcing, he has also broken world-class speed records as a pilot and performed on-screen and voice-over work for films and the silver screen.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ercoupe Owner's Club National Convention Descends on Mount Vernon Outland Airport, IL

By Carmelo Turdo
The Ercoupe Owners Club Convention was held at Mount Vernon Outland Airport, IL June 21-24.  Ercoupes of all colors and stripes, including some later Forney F-1 models, converged on Mount Vernon from all over the country.  Pilots attending the convention had plenty of time to explore the area sites after club business was conducted, including flyouts to neaby locations.  Local flying and a friendly spot-landing competition on Saturday kept many Ercoupes in motion throughout the day.  All of the pilots we met were very congenial and willing to share their stories - a very classy group of aviators.

Special thanks to Mr. Larry Snyder of the Ercoupe Owners Club and Mr. Chris Collins, Mount Vernon Outland Airport Director, for their assistance in making our visit a pleasant one.


Swift Museum Foundation National Fly-In Held at Creve Coeur Airport

By Carmelo Turdo
The Swift Museum Foundation National Fly-In was held this weekend at Creve Coeur Airport, home of the Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum, in west St. Louis County.  Over 50 Swifts, including a rare T-35 Buckaroo, were on hand over the four-day event.  Members flew their aircraft locally and participated in ground school courses and seminars addressing Swift-specific issues.  Formation and spot-landing competitions were held, and a formation of Swifts, led by Valiant Echoes BT-13 performer Mike Kennedy, flew by the Gateway Arch while fellow pilots toured the monument.  On Friday afternoon, a memorial tribute flight performed a missing man formation for local fallen pilots, veterans and first responders.  Special thanks to the Swift Museum Foundation and Creve Coeur Airport for organizing the event.

A special appearance by Eric Downing's EA-1E Skyraider: