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, September 10, 2010

Blue Angels F/A-18B Hornet Arrives at St. Louis Science Center for Display

Former Blue Angels F/A-18B Hornet Arrives at St. Louis Science Center

Invited Guests Enjoy Breakfast Prior to the Acceptance Ceremony

Invited Guests Gather to Witness the Acceptance Ceremony

The Following Speakers were instrumental in bringing the F/A-18B Hornet to the St. Louis Science Center for eventual display and for participation in St. Louis Navy Week:

Al Wiman, VP of Public Understanding of Science, St. Louis Science Center

Douglas R. King, President/CEO of St. Louis Science Center

Aaron West, VP Development, National Naval Aviation Museum Foundation

Michael K. Gibbons, F/A-18E/F & EA-18G Program Manager at Boeing

Kent Schien, CEO of Innoventor Engineering Consultant Company

Captain Greg McWherter, Current Blue Angels Team Commander

Blue Angels Support Team

The Former Blue Angles F/A-18 No.7 is Unveiled:

The display area for the aircraft is yet to be determined, so check back for further details.

The St. Louis Science Center accepted the loan of a former U.S. Navy Blue Angles Number 7 F/A-18B Hornet fighter plane September 10 for eventual outdoor display on the museum grounds in the renowned Forest Park. Following a VIP breakfast, representatives from the St. Louis Science Center, the National Naval Aviation Museum, Boeing Aircraft, Innoventor Engineering Consultants and other contributing parties gathered outside the James S. McDonnell Planetarium at the St. Louis Science Center to view the ceremony. Due to the efforts of many at the event, the aircraft has “closed the circle” by returning to St. Louis, not far from its origins.

The Hornet, bureau number 161746, was manufactured by then McDonnell Douglas Corporation (now Boeing) near Lambert St. Louis International Airport in 1983. It was used by several operational Navy squadrons before being acquired by the famous Navy Blue Angels aerobatic team, and is now owned by the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida. The cockpit bears the names of Lt. Frank Weisser and Lt. Dan McShane, both of whom flew this aircraft during the 2008 performance season. When mounted on a pedestal, it will remind the St. Louis community of its past and current role in aviation history.

St. Louis Science Center President and CEO, Douglas R. King, put the achievement in perspective. “Our Mission here at the Science Center is to ignite and sustain lifelong science and technology learning, and there couldn’t be any better example of how that works than what we’re doing today. What you are going to see here in a few minutes will ignite the imagination of a lot of people…It’s much more than an airplane, it’s an inspiration for people in our community and for the next generation of people who will build and fly these aircraft.” Being outside in such a prime viewing area where more than a million people a year will see it, King continued, will serve as catalyst for them to go inside and learn more about the actual airplane and aerospace careers. The St. Louis Science Center already has a display dedicated to McDonnell Douglas, early space exploration and of course astronomy.

Kent Schien, CEO of Innoventor (Engineering Consultants), described the process by which the aircraft was brought to St. Louis. As a result of discussion 110 days ago aboard an aircraft carrier between Schien and Lt. Cmdr. Garrett Kasper, former Blue Angel member and communications contact for St. Louis Navy Week, the seed for the acquisition of a Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornet for St. Louis was planted. A Contact with Admiral Michael Bowman, Chairman of the National Naval Aviation Museum, set the process in motion for the aircraft loan to the St. Louis Science Center. Of course, the desire for an aircraft loan had been expressed for years, but now the dream was set to become a reality.

Over the next several months, the exhibit area for the aircraft will be finalized and the Hornet will be mounted on a pedestal for the community to see. And then, in the process, the allure of lifelong science and technology education at the St. Louis Science Center will soar along with the Blue Angel Hornet that has returned to its home.

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