|By Carmelo Turdo|
Aircraft represented at the practice session include the Christen Eagle II and Pitts S-2A, S-2B and S-1C models:
IAC Chapter 61 members and individual competitors practice at various locations around eastern Missouri and southwest Illinois, and the annual regional contest is held at Salem-Leckrone Airport. The International Aerobatic Club (IAC) promotes aerobatic flying and competition, and will have the national competition at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017 in July. According to the IAC, only about 10% of members compete, and aerobatics is about more than competition. It is about the joy and confidence of flight within the capabilities of the aircraft. It is about upset recovery, increased safety and developing one's flying abilities with objective criteria. The IAC encourages safety training and recreational aerobatics before entering aerobatic competition or airshow performing. Regional chapters also encourage their members to enjoy their aerobatic flying whether or not they consider competition. IAC Chapter 61 President, John Housley, echoed these sentiments in a message to chapter members following the Saturday practice, saying, "Days like this are FUN, and we need to emphasize that (along with safety/responsibility)."
It was a perfect day for precision flying. St. Louis Regional Airport provided a great venue, with apron space, outdoor restaurant seating and air traffic control support. An aerobatic box was established between the runways, and traffic flowed smoothly without interrupting airport operations. Four pilots flew the proposed maneuvers for their competition class, and following the session we were treated to a Christen Eagle formation pass.
Jim Heinz provided some insights on the finer points of precision flying, and his beautiful Decathlon added to the aircraft lineup on the apron:
Bob Hamilton flew his Pitts S-1C in the Sportsman Class:
2016 Salem Regional Contest Director Joe Overman flew the Pitts S-2A in the Intermediate Class:
IAC Chapter 61 President John Housley flew the Pitts S-2B in the Advanced Class:
Dan Kohler flew the Christen Eagle II for some recreational aerobatics, and later joined with Clay Keithley and Noelle Wright for a great formation fly-by after takeoff:
The Aero Experience thanks IAC Chapter 61 for welcoming us to their informal practice session Saturday, and we look forward to visiting again during the 2017 Salem Regional Contest June 2-4. For our coverage of the 2016 contest, click on the link here for our previous stories.