Friday, June 29, 2012

Missouri Aviation Historical Society Meeting Features Greater St. Louis Honor Flight

By Carmelo Turdo
This month's meeting of the Missouri Aviation Hostorical Society hosted representatives of the Greater St. Louis Honor Flight (GSLHF), whose mission is to safely transport World War II veterans to see their National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. This mission takes on urgency since veterans of this era are pasing away at a rapid rate – more than 900 a day nationally. 

Mr. Robert Graves, Flight Leader, and Mrs. Dayna Bischoff from the Daughters of the American Revolution discussed the need to support this worthy endeavor.  Mr. Bob Rockford, a veteran from a recent Honor Flight, described his experiences to the group.  Since its inception in 2009, the GSLHF has flown twenty-two Honor Flights with more than 550 veterans.  There are currently eight flights scheduled for this year, and more are desired.

Each mission begins around 3:00am, with each veteran assigned a guardian prior to boarding a Southwest Airlines flight to Baltimore Airport.  Typically, the veterans are recognized by the crew and passengers as they board the aircraft.  Upon arrival, a busy day begins.  The veterans and their guardians tour the war memorials on the National Mall, culminating at the World War II Memorial.  Often Bob or Elizabeth Dole greet the veterans there as they arrive.  A visit to Arlington national Cemetary to witness the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a moving experience.  "Mail Call," the highlight of any soldier's day, is also part of the agenda, with packets of letters provided by family and even strangers distributed to the veterans.  The group returns to St. Louis late into the evening to a crowd of family members and well-wishers as they deplane.   

Please visit the Greater St. Louis Honor Flight at and contribute your time and resources to this worthy mission!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Brian "Brain" Kissinger Describes Plan for Record-Breaking Flight on July 4th

By Carmelo Turdo
Brian "Brain" Kissinger is preparing his Sonerai sport aircraft for a record-breaking flight attempt on July 4 to raise awareness and contributions toward alleviating homelessness among veterans in the East St. Louis area.  The flight is sponsored in part by the 26th Flight of the Order of Daedalians, EAA Chapter 64 and the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum and will be conducted prior to the Fair St. Louis air show performed above the Gateway Arch in downtown St. Louis.  Brian will use a Sonerai, developed by designer John Monnett, that has a steel and aluminum frame with fabric covering, and is powered by a converted VW engine.  For updates on the flight, please visit and to contribute to helping homeless veterans, visit

For an audio interview by Bob Priddy care of Missourinet, please visit and scroll down to the link.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Brian "Brain" Kissinger Record-Breaking Flight Planned to Help Homeless Veterans

By Carmelo Turdo
Brian "Brain" Kissinger is planning a record-breaking flight to raise awareness of, and provide assistance to, homeless veterans in the St. Louis area.  Brian and his support crew are veterans, and see this flight as an opportunity to help brothers and sisters in arms who need help coping with daily life on the streets.  "This flight is to raise awareness for the Joseph's Center and hoping to give them (homeless veterans) some hope, some money to help them gain self-sufficiency," Brian said this morning while taking time out from working on his aircraft.  He raises funds through his non-denominational ministry, Pax et Amor, that serves homeless veterans and cancer survivors (Brian has survived two bouts of brain cancer).  Please visit and please give generously to support Brian's ministry outreach efforts. 

Please check The Aero Experience for further postings on Brian's flight in the next few days.

Brian "Brain" Kissinger poses with the Sonerai aircraft he flies

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ercoupe Owner's Club National Convention Descends on Mount Vernon Outland Airport, IL

By Carmelo Turdo
The Ercoupe Owners Club Convention was held at Mount Vernon Outland Airport, IL June 21-24.  Ercoupes of all colors and stripes, including some later Forney F-1 models, converged on Mount Vernon from all over the country.  Pilots attending the convention had plenty of time to explore the area sites after club business was conducted, including flyouts to neaby locations.  Local flying and a friendly spot-landing competition on Saturday kept many Ercoupes in motion throughout the day.  All of the pilots we met were very congenial and willing to share their stories - a very classy group of aviators.

Special thanks to Mr. Larry Snyder of the Ercoupe Owners Club and Mr. Chris Collins, Mount Vernon Outland Airport Director, for their assistance in making our visit a pleasant one.


Swift Museum Foundation National Fly-In Held at Creve Coeur Airport

By Carmelo Turdo
The Swift Museum Foundation National Fly-In was held this weekend at Creve Coeur Airport, home of the Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum, in west St. Louis County.  Over 50 Swifts, including a rare T-35 Buckaroo, were on hand over the four-day event.  Members flew their aircraft locally and participated in ground school courses and seminars addressing Swift-specific issues.  Formation and spot-landing competitions were held, and a formation of Swifts, led by Valiant Echoes BT-13 performer Mike Kennedy, flew by the Gateway Arch while fellow pilots toured the monument.  On Friday afternoon, a memorial tribute flight performed a missing man formation for local fallen pilots, veterans and first responders.  Special thanks to the Swift Museum Foundation and Creve Coeur Airport for organizing the event.

A special appearance by Eric Downing's EA-1E Skyraider: