Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Sponsor Announcement: Piston Aviation Joins The Aero Experience Team

By Carmelo Turdo
The Aero Experience is proud to announce that Piston Aviation, the St. Louis area's newest flight training, aircraft sales and annual inspection business, has joined our team as a sponsor and advertiser. Located at Creve Coeur Airport, Piston Aviation offers a unique approach that combines spreading the joy of aviation with a forward-looking plan to equip flight schools and pilot/owners with an efficient and capable aircraft. We have been following the preparations for the Piston Aviation Grand Opening coming this Saturday, August 6, and here The Aero Experience shares our interview with co-owner Joe Ord conducted during our recent visit.

Joe and Meghen Ord are launching their business to grow the aviation community in a supportive and friendly atmosphere. Piston Aviation's flight training program employs a unique selection of fleet aircraft, and special package rates will be available at the Grand Opening event. The premier light sport aircraft brand will soon be flying high over the Midwest, and a systematic approach to annual inspections will make this yearly ritual more productive and less costly. Piston Aviation is dedicated to providing the quality work and customer service necessary to thrive in the aviation industry, and they also strive to keep another important ingredient of aviation alive: Fun.        

"We want folks that are associated with us to love flying, and we want to help them have the most enjoyable experience they can have,” Ord told The Aero Experience. Piston Aviation aims to promote the adventure and fun of general aviation within all of their service offerings. Between flights, students and visitors can relax and refresh themselves in the well-appointed lounge and hang out with the hangar dog named Piston.

"We like flying our plane, we like going places, we like travel, and we just love the adventure general aviation provides," Ord continued. "We want to share that with people. That’s the motivation for our business, really just to share the love of flying. It’s that simple. Our core value is just love of flight. We want to build a community of Piston Aviation enthusiasts, but more importantly, flight enthusiasts.”

Joe Ord began his career in aviation, and after owning a successful real estate business, he is returning to aviation full-time to share his passion with others more directly.

“I’ve been in aviation my whole life. When I was a kid, I’d build model rockets. I took my very first flight lesson when I was seventeen, and then I did what a lot of people do – start, stop, start, stop – let life get in the way a little bit.

“I actually went to school right here in St. Louis at the Parks College of Aviation and Engineering and I got an Aerospace Engineering Degree. And then I worked for Boeing as a Flight Test Engineer for several years. I worked on the Super Hornet, the F-15, the F-22 and I worked on the JSF and Small Diameter Bomb Program. After I resigned from Boeing, I went into real estate – did well, but just not my passion - and I finally decided to follow my dream and get my pilot’s license.  I got my Private Pilot’s License and I just love flying so much I want to be around airplanes and around the aviation community and the people, who I find just absolutely incredible, the rest of my life. With the support of my wife, Meghen, we decided to get out of the real estate business and get into the aviation business because we love it so much." 

Piston Aviation offers flight training in their fleet aircraft based at Creve Coeur Airport. Their Piper Cherokee 140 is equipped with a 150hp engine and new custom leather interior. It will be IFR capable later this month. The other aircraft, a 2020 Bristell LSA, is powered by a Rotax 912 100hp engine and provides the largest (51-inch wide) cockpit in its class. The ergonomic cockpit layout includes a Garmin 3X touch display and seating comfortable for training or cruising. It will also be IFR capable. 

Piston Aviation not only offers the exciting Bristell LSA for flight training and rental, but they are the Midwest's Bristell distributor. The Bristell series provides the desirable features of modern general aviation aircraft, including a spacious cockpit, robust landing gear, steerable nose wheel and an array of avionics and powerplant options, that put this aircraft in a class of its own. Designed by Milan Bristela at BRM Aero in the Czech Republic, the Bristell has evolved into a competitor to the four-seat trainer and cruiser models that cost several times the price to purchase and operate. Deliveries in Europe have reached 110/year, and there are now over eighty in the U.S. Piston Aviation plans to make the Bristell the new trainer aircraft of choice in the Midwest.

Joe Ord selected the Bristell line for training and new aircraft sales for several key reasons - the stability of BRM Aero as an aircraft producer, the range of performance that competes with general aviation types for 2-person flights, the efficiency of operation sipping 4.5gal/hr. using avgas or 93 octane auto fuel, the 600-mile range and the modern features mentioned previously. The Bristell B23 Turbo model is equipped with the Rotax 915 Turbo 141hp engine, additional fuel capacity and constant-speed propeller among other amenities. 

“It’s a completely modern aircraft for a modern pilot. The performance and flight characteristics are great for training students and fun to fly for General Aviation enthusiasts.

“Our goal is not only to get every flight school in the Midwest flying these things, but to make these the Harley-Davidson of the general aviation community. They are fun, fun airplanes and they are customizable - you can trick them out how you want to – and just have a pure, awesome, joyful ownership experience with a really cool aircraft for a third of the price that you would pay for a Cirrus.”

Having the Bristell in the training fleet or as an aircraft owner provides options for current and future flying opportunities. Light Sport aircraft offer an entry-level flying experience up front or a way to keep flying should one's medical situation change. With the Bristell LSA, the Private Pilot or Sport Pilot ratings can be enjoyed with a very capable, comfortable and efficient aircraft.   

“The Sport Pilot certificate is the hidden gem of the FAA that nobody talks about, and it opens up the flight experience to a lot of people that otherwise wouldn’t be able to have it. You don’t have to give up the dream of flying – you can be a Sport Pilot.”

To learn more about Piston Aviation first-hand, view the video below and meet Joe and Meghen Ord at their amazing hangar facility during the Grand Opening event this Saturday, August 6, at Creve Coeur Airport. Contact Piston Aviation to schedule a discovery flight and lock in your flight training package deals between now and the end of Grand Opening day.  

Sunday, July 31, 2022

July General Aviation (and More!) Survey EXPANDED EDITION

By Carmelo Turdo and Fred Harl
The Aero Experience looks back on the month of July in this General Aviation (and More!) Survey. Here we present a variety of aircraft types encountered during our visits to airports while covering stories from around the Midwest. We hope you enjoy this review of our aviation community!

Creve Coeur Airport, Maryland Heights, MO

St. Louis Downtown Airport, Cahokia, IL

Spirit of St. Louis Airport, Chesterfield, MO

Cape Girardeau, MO Regional Airport

Farmington, MO Regional Airport