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

Monday, January 24, 2022

Elite Aviation - More Than Just a Flight School

By Carmelo Turdo

Elite Aviation is the St. Louis area's premier flight training center, conveniently located in the Spirit of St. Louis Airport West Terminal. They offer a team of instructors who implement a structured Cessna Pilot Center ground school program, a modern aircraft fleet, and advanced Redbird MCX full-motion flight simulator through Alpha Flight Simulation. Elite Aviation also provides aircraft rental, including a Piper Turbo Saratoga, and they are an FAA-approved written examination testing station. Elite Aviation recently added two late-model Cessna 172 aircraft to their fleet as well as additional certified flight instructors to serve the growing demand for flight training in the St. Louis area. They have also built an experienced service team to maintain their fleet and customer aircraft from around the region. 

Elite Aviation is more than a flight school, or even an aircraft rental and maintenance center. They are a family business that treats their customers and staff like family and extends that invitation to the community through numerous educational and charitable endeavors. Elite Aviation is a major sponsor of the St. Louis Red Tail Cadet program, now preparing for the second class of high school student participants starting this spring. The flight portion of the Wings of Hope Soar Into STEM program is also held at Elite Aviation during the summer months, and special flight events such as the CAP 80th Anniversary Open House are held on the north apron. Once-in-a-lifetime flight opportunities are also provided by Elite Aviation through the Flying Vikings, AARP Wish of a Lifetime and other philanthropic organizations. Fund-raising support is extended to organizations such as A Seat at the Table mentoring program and A Circle of Concern Food Pantry

A bitter-sweet result of employing some of the highest-caliber young certified flight Instructors is that after producing a new generation of aviators they will eventually progress in their career to the corporate and commercial airline industries. Recently, several CFIs have entered training programs with regional airlines, one of whom is Sarah Sutherlin. The Aero Experience has had the pleasure of working with her on several stories last year, including our in-flight video interview. We send our best wishes for success to her and all Elite Aviation alumni! 

Elite Aviation was busy as usual last Saturday, and here we show the one-on-one instruction in the Garmin G1000 avionics system, instrument check ride pass by Tyler Sanders with CFI Josh Moore, and several rotations of the training fleet throughout the day. Contact them today for more information about their services and how you can join the Elite Aviation family.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Natural Flyers - Third Birding Trip Is to Clarksville, MO Along the Mississippi River

By Carmelo Turdo
It is winter once again in the Midwest, and that brings with it large numbers of migrating birds along the waterways of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers in the St. Louis area. The Aero Experience continues our coverage of these natural flyers in our winter season birding series with a trip to Lock and Dam 24 in Clarksville, MO along the Mississippi River. Here we feature a selection of the nearly fifty bald eagles we observed in just a few hours. We will continue to incorporate more natural flyer posts as we return to Clarksville and visit other popular birding sites over the next several months.