Sunday, October 30, 2011

St. Charles Flying Service and MO CAF Wing Host Fly-In and Pumpkin Drop Competition

By Carmelo Turdo
St. Charles Flying Service and the Missouri Wing of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) hosted this year's annual fly-in and pumpkin drop competition at St. Charles County Airport Saturday.  The weather was beautiful, and the ramp was busy all day with aircraft arrivals, sight-seeing rides and everyone's favorite - the pumpkin drop competition.  While on the ground, visitors could talk to pilots about their planes, view antique and classic cars, tour the MO CAF museum, and get some lunch as well.  A wide variety of aircraft were on hand, such as an Alon A2 Ercoupe, two Navion Bs, a Boeing E75N1 (Stearman), a Douglas C-47, the MO CAF B-25J Mitchell "Show Me" and TBM Avenger, and dozens of Comanches, Cherokees and 172s of all stripes.  Pumpkins were dropped from various high-wing aircraft (mostly Cessna 172s and 152s), culminating with B-25 pumpkin bomb runs right on target.  Here are some scenes from yesterday's event:    

St. Charles County Airport entrance sign

MO CAF Wing vehicles

1925 Ford Model T Touring Car Owned by the Thum Family

St. Louis Corvette Club members brought their cars

Special Budweiser Shootout at Daytona Car

More Corvettes

MO CAF Wing TBM-3E Avenger and Torpedo

Ozark Airlines Museum C-47 on display

Alon A2 Ercoupe taxis in front of the MO CAF B-25J Mitchell

Boeing (Stearman) E75N1 training aircraft

Greg Vallero's AT-6F Texan gave flights all day

Greg Vallero's reflection off his highly polished Texan

Ryan Navion B based in Minnesota flew most of the day

Locally owned Navion B also joined in the action 

Tom Crosby's American Aviation AA-1 Yankee on the ramp 

1940 Porterfield LP-65 "Spirit of the Lone Eagle"

Lawrence Low's 1959 Cessna 172 still looks great

Cubcrafters CC11-100 is an evolution of the classic Cub

Ramp full of Pipers, Mooneys, Beeches and Cessnas

Lancair 320 and RV-4 formation takeoff

RV-6 makes a low pass over the runway

Davis DA-2 homebuilt aircraft strikes a unique pose

Robert Heimberger's Magni M-16 gyrocopter

Magni M-24 owned by Scott Gaitros

Pumpkin drop performed by this Cessna 172N Skyhawk

Another 172N makes a pumpkin bombing run

MO CAF Wing B-25 J Mitchell readied for pumpkin bombing

MO CAF Wing B-25J Mitchell after its pumpkin bombing run

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Star Trek Exhibit Opens Tomorrow at St. Louis Science Center

By Carmelo Turdo
Star Trek: The Exhibition will open tomorrow at the St. Louis Science Center in Forest Park.   The exhibit brings together a large array of TV and movie character costumes as well as a wide assortment of accessories such as phasers and communicators.  Movie sets are featured, as well as iconic items like Captain Kirk's chair, an alternate from the set. 

Mark Smith, President of Exhibition Dynamix, the producer of the exhibit, praised the St. Louis Science Center as a host venue and community institution.  The exhibit is a culmination of a year of preparations and three weeks of setup work.  Star Trek: The Exhibition will delight anyone even remotely curious about the long-running Star Trek franchise and its ties to actual space travel.  The St. Louis Science Center will host related activities in concert with the exhibit, making the connection between Star Trek and current space exploration:

Star Trek First Fridays: 

Nov. 4, 2011: Star Trek costume contest
Dec. 2, 2011: Special guest Star Trek makeup artist Jeff Lewis
January 6, 2012: Star Trek trivia contest
February 3, 2012: Special guest Robert Picardo from Star Trek: Voyager 

Tickets are $17.50 for adults, $15.50 for seniors and college students with an ID and $13.50 for children and members of the military. Science Center Members receive half-price tickets. Tickets and more information at

Here are some scenes from today's Media Preview:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Flying Dutchman: Planes, Pilots and Perfect Weather Make for a Great Fall Fly-In

By Carmelo Turdo
Another perfect day for a fall fly-in - this time at The Flying Dutchman airfield in Belleville, IL on Saturday.  Great people, great planes, great location, great weather and great food combined to make an ideal Midwest fall fly-in.  A variety of aircraft could be seen on the grass strip throughout the day, from a 1937 Waco YKS-7, to classic Cubs, an Ercoupe, RV-4, Stearman B75N1 along with more conventional Cessna 150 and 172.  Of course we all came for the $100 hamburger (this time a vat of Chili was also on hand) and to talk airplanes with familiar faces before the weather closes in for the winter.  Two of The Aero Experience usual suspects, Carmelo Turdo and Mark Nankivil, were on hand to record the event.  Here is a sample of what we experienced.  Stay tuned for coverage of the St. Charles Flying Service "Pumpkin Drop" next weekend.

Step Right Up for Your $100 Hamburger

Mark Harter's Waco YKS-7

Marvin Campbells' 1943 B75N1 Stearman

Thurman Carver's 1946 415-C Ercoupe

Francis Tebbe's 1946 Piper J3C-65 Cub

Votaw Aviation's Cub Crafters CC11-100 Sport Cub 2

Billy Haddock's Challenger 2 Ultralight

And a Few More...