Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Memorial Mass Celebrated Today for Rainy Bell, Belleville, IL Area Resident and Aviation Icon

Lorraine "Rainy" Bell (right) and Carl "Chub" Wheeler,
Greater St. Louis Area Aviation Icons (Photo by Jack Abercrombie)

Rainy A. Bell (1922 - 2010)

Rainy A. Bell, 88, of Belleville, Ill., born Feb. 19, 1922, in O'Fallon, Ill., passed away Saturday, Dec. 11, 2010, at home with wife, Carol and faithful companion Buddy at his side.

Mr. Bell retired from Army Aviation Systems Command as weapons systems manager and served in the Illinois Air National Guard. He was a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church. He received the Wright Brothers Master Pilot and Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Awards, and a War Department Commendation for exceptional civilian service. He was a member of Quiet Birdmen, Illinois Pilots Association, St. Louis Soaring Society, Greater St. Louis Flight Instructors Association, Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum, Exchange Club, Thermaleers,  Masons and Shriners. He was a commercial pilot, aircraft and power plant technician, ground instructor, flight instructor, accident prevention counselor, aircraft inspector and glider pilot with a Silver Badge.

Rainy was a good and unselfish person, generous with his time, passionate about aviation, and had many life long friends.  He and Carol spent many happy days flying and at the Flying Dutchman and Aero Estates Airstrips.

(Above biography provided by Legacy.com)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Physics of Santa's Flight Confirm Annual Sightings

(Simon Howden/FreeDigitalPhotos.net image)

Have you even wondered about the physics behind Santa's annual round-the-world flight?  Check the link below, and you may be surprised at how he pulls it off!  (OK, a little magic may be needed to get things rolling).  Enjoy!  Merry Christmas!


He might also get little help now and then!

(PixDatabase.com photo)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sabreliner Corporation Perryville, MO Facility Rolls Out 3 Centennial of U.S. Naval Aviation Aircraft

Sabreliner Corporation's Perryville, MO facility rolled out three aircraft in special Centennial of U.S. Naval Aviation celebration paint schemes Monday.  The Aero Experience, in cooperation with the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum, was privileged to attend the presentation of aircraft to Navy Captain (Commodore) John R. Rodriguez, TAW-6 commander, NAS Pensacola, Florida.  We wish to convey our deepest appreciation to the management and staff of Sabreliner Perryville for their gracious accommodation and professionalism during our visit.  We look forward to reporting on future Centennial of U.S. Naval Aviation projects in the near future.

 T-39N Bn 165523 is painted to represent 1936/38 Pensacola training colors:

T-34C Bn 161841 is painted to represent 4th section leader USS Ranger circa 1935/36:

T-44A Bn 160984 is painted as a Navy Curtiss NC-4 Flying Boat 1919:

The three aircraft together form a handsome trio:

Navy Captain (Commodore) John Rodriguez arrived with his staff in his own T-39G Sabreliner jet to review the Centennial aircraft:

Captain Rodriguez also toured the Perryville, MO facility...

...where the next Centennial aircraft paint job is completed for T-34C Bn 164169,  commemorating pre-war U.S. Coast Guard colors:

For additional information about Sabreliner Corporation and the Centennial of U.S. Naval Aviation, please visit:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Phantom Ray Departs Lambert Airport on Test Flight Atop NASA 747 SCA; Flies to Edwards AFB Next Day

(Boeing Photo)

Boeing Press Release

The Boeing Phantom Ray unmanned airborne system sits atop a NASA Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), a modified Boeing 747, as it takes off at 1:40 p.m. Central time for today's test flight at Lambert International Airport. The 50-minute flight was conducted in preparation for Phantom Ray's upcoming transport on the SCA to the Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

"This is exciting not just because it's the first time that an aircraft other than the space shuttle has flown on the SCA, but also because it puts Phantom Ray that much closer to making its first flight," said Craig Brown, Phantom Ray program manager for Boeing.

The SCA flights with Phantom Ray are being conducted under a Boeing-funded, commercial Space Act Agreement with NASA. Once Phantom Ray arrives at Dryden, it will undergo ground and high-speed taxi tests to prepare for its first flight in early 2011.

Phantom Ray is one of several programs in Boeing's Phantom Works division that are part of the company's rapid prototyping initiative to design, develop and build advanced aircraft and then demonstrate their capabilities.

The Phantom Ray/747 combo flew to Edwards AFB, CA December 14.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Missouri Aviation Historical Society Meeting Features Presentation by Author Tom Doll

Aviation Author Tom Doll Spoke at the Recent MO AHS Meeting

Aviation historian and author Tom Doll, a member of the Missouri Aviation Historical Society, gave a presentation that included rare color photos and video of pre and post World War II naval aviation.  Doll has authored or contributed to many publications, including SBC Helldiver in Action (Aircraft No. 151), Chance Vought F-4U Corsair (Aero No. 11), USN/USMC Over Korea: U.S. Navy/Marine Corps Air Operations Over Korea 1950-53 (Aircraft Specials series 6048) to name a few.  Doll spent part of his career at the Lockheed Skunk Works, preparing aircraft surfaces for such aircraft as the F-104 Starfighter and SR-71 Blackbird.  The Missouri Aviation Historical is very fortunate to have him as a member!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Remember Our Veterans on Pearl Harbor Day Today

Special Thanks to the Tora! Tora! Tora! Team for recognizing the veterans of the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Aero Experience Museum Destination: Tulsa Air & Space Museum Celebrates Local Aerospace History

Tulsa Air & Space Museum Main Hall

Planetarium Entrance

Balcony view of F-14 and Nearby Displays

Spartan Aircraft C-2-60 (Above) and NP-1

One-of-a-Kind Ranger 1990s JPATS Trainer Competitor 

Bell 47 Previously Owned by Tulsa Resident Glenn Wright

Hu-Go Craft VPS Experimental Class Biplane

Radial Aircraft Engine Display

Centennial of U.S. Naval Aviation 2011: Watch for These Aircraft With Vintage Paint Schemes

By Mark Nankivil
During the 2011 U.S. Navy Centennial of Flight Celebration events, a variety of vintage paint schemes will be displayed on current Navy aircraft.  The Perryville, MO Sabreliner plant is currently painting some aircraft in Centennial colors.  Here are some recent pictures of T-39 Sabreliner and T-44 Pegasus aircraft undergoing retro paint processing.

Also visit http://www.navair.navy.mil/newsreleases/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.view&id=4445 for coverage of an S-3B Viking painted in World War II naval aircraft colors!

Below is a list of current and pending Centennial of U.S. Naval Aviation aircraft projects:

Completed aircraft  T-45C - Yellow Wings (Black Tail)
T-45C - Yellow Wings (Blue Tail)
HH-60H - HAL-3 " TH-57C - 1916 with anchor insignia
MH-60S - 1950s Sea Blue
MH-60S - 1950s Sea Blue
T-6B - Trainer Yellow - complete, new at factory
S-3B - Battle of Midway
F/A-18F - Navy Working Uniform
MH-60R - Three-tone WWII

Currently being painted:
T-39N - Yellow Wings (Blue Tail)
TC-12B - 1942 with red and white rudder
T-44 - NC-4 Flying Boat (1919)

Planned/Not started:
T-34C - USCG 1930s
T-34C - USMC 1930s
T-34C - USN 1930s
F/A-18C - USNR 1950s
F/A-18 - Three-tone WWII
EA-6B - Coral Sea
EA-18G - Three-tone WWII
F/A-18C - T&E Paint
F/A-18C - Shangri La Air Group Glossy Sea Blue (tentative)
EA-6B - 1970s
F/A-18C - Mid-WWII
P-3C - VP-44 Battle of Midway
P-3C - Seaplane Gray/White
UH-1N - USMC MoH aircraft

(Source: PaintSquare, Dec. 3, 2010)