Greetings from The Aero Experience Team

Greetings!



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












Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Gateway Youth Aeronautical Foundation Receives Bell OH-58C Kiowa Helicopter for STEM Program

By Carmelo Turdo
2020 saw the founding and growth of the Gateway Youth Aeronautical Foundation, located at Creve Coeur Airport. During the year, the foundation established itself as a Missouri 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring the next generation to aviation. Current programs include flight simulation lab, 3-axis flight demonstrator, F-4 Phantom II jet fighter mobile cockpit display and Bell OH-58C Kiowa currently being prepared for flight this spring. More exhibits, aerospace education activities and career counseling services will be available later this year. One specific long-term project has taken a big step forward recently: the arrival of a second OH-58C helicopter made available through the GSA's Surplus Property Program. The year-long application process for eligibility to receive surplus property was completed in early January, and the foundation immediately applied for, and received, the helicopter. It arrived on Wednesday of last week, and is now in the foundation's hangar facility. The helicopter will be restored to display condition and used in future STEM programs. This on-going story will be included in our regular updates. The Aero Experience is proud to support the work of the Gateway Youth Aeronautical Foundation as a media sponsor.












Friday, January 15, 2021

The Aero Experience New Year Update: Current and Future Midwest Aviation Stories

By Carmelo Turdo
The year 2021 is just two weeks old, and so far it has been a very active time for The Aero Experience. We have done our best to keep everyone updated with daily posts on Facebook and periodic features on this site, and here we will review the current and long-term projects about which we have reported recently. Most of the feature stories we post are from the current week, while others are the result of weeks or months of work conducting interviews, gathering media and editing the final product. 

Long-Term Projects

As mentioned above, some of our feature stories are the result of work spanning an extended period of time, especially when working with other media outlets and accommodating the availability of all parties concerned. The Aero Experience recently contributed to stories published in two highly-respected publications, the production schedules of both extending over several months.

World Airshow News, Autumn 2020

The current issue of World Airshow News includes a four-page performer profile of Patrick McAlee, airshow performer and airline pilot. The story includes photos taken during the air-to-air flight around St. Louis last July, and work on the story was conducted in September and October. Our photo flight was led by Paul Voorhees, owner of our sponsor Big River Aviation, in a specially-configured Cessna 172. The Aero Experience is a media sponsor of Patrick McAlee Airshows - ExtremeFlight, providing marketing material and feature stories for the last eight seasons. More coverage of the photo flight can be found here: The Aero Experience: Flying With The Aero Experience: Air-to Air With the Blue Demon.

FAA Safety Briefing, January/February 2021 

Another long-term project was completed this week. Photos from The Aero Experience were used to illustrate a story by Phil Dixon, FAASTeam Program Manager at the Memphis, TN FAA FSDO. The article, "Bringing Avid Aviators Together," in the January/February 2021 edition of FAA Safety Briefing magazine, features the Spirit of St. Louis Flying Club as an example of how flying clubs can make aviation safer, affordable and more fun! The visit for the photo shoot was made in November, and the issue was released on Monday. We enjoyed visiting with the club members, and it is always very satisfying to see a Midwest Aviation organization featured in a national publication.

Gateway Youth Aeronautical Foundation 

2020 saw the establishment and growth of the Gateway Youth Aeronautical Foundation, located at Creve Coeur Airport. During the year, the foundation established itself as a Missouri 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring the next generation to aviation. Current programs include flight simulation lab, 3-axis flight demonstrator, F-4 Phantom II jet fighter mobile cockpit display and Bell OH-58C Kiowa currently being prepared for flight this spring. More exhibits, aerospace education activities and career counseling services will be available later this year. One specific long-term project has taken a big step forward this week: the arrival of a second OH-58C helicopter made available through the GSA's Surplus Property Program. The year-long application process for eligibility to receive surplus property was completed in early January, and the foundation immediately applied for, and received, the helicopter. It arrived on Wednesday of this week, and it is now in the foundation's hangar facility. This on-going story will be included in our regular updates. The Aero Experience is proud to support the work of the Gateway Youth Aeronautical Foundation as a media sponsor. 









 











Future Stories Under Development

Several feature stories from our sponsors are currently in development for future publication on The Aero Experience while others are now in the planning stage. Look for these stories as they are posted in the next several weeks.

Elite Aviation Redbird MCX Full-Motion Flight Simulator

Elite Aviation, the general aviation flight school and maintenance center located at Spirit of St. Louis Airport, offers flight training and evaluation in the Redbird MCX full-motion flight simulator. The Aero Experience will feature a series of videos with Elite Aviation CFIs demonstrating the use of the simulator in various scenarios. 














Dick Horowitz Retires as Wings of Hope Chief Pilot

The Aero Experience will post a series of stories and videos based on a recent event at Wings of Hope, the global humanitarian non-profit organization headquartered at Spirit of St. Louis Airport. Dick Horowitz, the Chief Pilot for the domestic Medical Relief and Air Transport Program, made his last flight in that capacity November 30, 2020. That story appears on The Aero Experience here: The Aero Experience: Wings of Hope Salutes Career of MAT Chief Pilot Dick Horowitz. In the coming weeks, we will feature an interview with Dick Horowitz that includes reflections on the recent flight, his continuing aviation career and humanitarian aviation. Below are several photos from our visits:






These stories, and more from our other sponsors, will be coming soon to The Aero Experience. We can continue our mission to promote Midwest Aviation only with the support of our sponsors, listed to the right this page, and we encourage other aviation businesses and organizations to join our team as we expand our coverage in the new year!

Friday, January 8, 2021

Gateway Youth Aeronautical Foundation OH-58C Kiowa Restoration to Flight Continues

By Carmelo Turdo
The Gateway Youth Aeronautical Foundation continues the restoration to flight of the Bell OH-58C Kiowa that will serve as a flying exhibit in the coming year. The helicopter was recently painted, and Founder and President Joe Steimann is shown here with Tim Ogan outside the Foundation hangar. The first engine runup was conducted in November, and work will continue through the winter towards the next engine tests and eventual first flight. 










Monday, January 4, 2021

Wings of Hope Performs Winter Maintenance on Fleet, Upgrades Piper Navajo Avionics

By Carmelo Turdo
Wings of Hope, the global humanitarian non-profit organization, is starting the year performing inspections and heavy maintenance on the Medical Relief and Air Transport (MAT) aircraft fleet at their Spirit of St. Louis Airport World Headquarters location. Staff and volunteer technicians have removed the engine cowlings from the two Piper Seneca V twins to assess their condition. These aircraft are the workhorses of the MAT program, and are meticulously maintained. Sixteen volunteer MAT pilots flew 218 patients nearly 117,000 miles for advanced medical treatment at locations throughout the Midwest (2019 data).  



The newest aircraft in the fleet, a Piper Navajo, offers a roomier interior and longer flight range than the Seneca. It is currently receiving a complete instrument panel upgrade that will replace the vacuum system instruments with glass panel avionics. The photos below illustrate the previous panel layout and the progress made thus far. Also, the Navajo's engines have been removed and are out for overhaul, so this aircraft will be a much greater asset to the MAT program when the work is completed.