Monday, August 27, 2012

Red Tails Art Exhibit Opens at Jefferson Barracks Heritage Foundation

By Carmelo Turdo
The Jefferson Barracks Heritage Foundation opened an art exhibit this weekend honoring the service of the Tuskegee Airmen, the famous "Red Tails" of World War II.  The artist, Mr. William Curtis, was on hand to explain the images on the various panels that tell the story of the African-American 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group.  Several Tuskegee Airmen were present for the exhibit opening day: Captain Christopher Newman, Lt. Everett Bratcher, and Clara White, wife of the late Hugh J. White.  In addition to the art exhibit, memorabilia from Mr. Myron Lane was on display, along with several large models and uniform items on loan from the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum.  The exhibit will be at the Foundation Museum through November.  Here are some scenes from the preview:


Front: Clara White, Lt. Everett Bratcher; Back: Myron Lane, William Curtis (artist), Capt. Christopher Newman(Myron Lane photo)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sightings: Rare PZL M28 Skytruck Special Operations Aircraft Makes Stop in St. Louis Area

By Carmelo Turdo
A rare PZL Mielec (now Sikorsky) M28-05 Skytruck, one of nine operated by the USAF Special Operations Command 318th Special Operations Squadron at Cannon AFB, Clovis, NM made a stop at St. Louis Downtown Airport recently for a series of weekend training missions.  The aircraft, manufactured at the Sikorsky plant in Poland, is a modern derivative of the Russian AN-28 that provides a rugged, turbo-prop transport and resupply capability for small teams operating behind enemy lines.  Interestingly, the ten M28s are civil registered to USAF Special Operations Command headquartered at Hurlburt Field, FL.  After an overnight stay, the two crew members were preparing for a training flight when mechanical trouble forced the return of the aircraft to the ramp after engine run-ups.  The aircraft later moved on to its next destination, but not before providing the local aviation community with an interesting Sighting!


Sunday, August 12, 2012

EAA Chapter 32 Gives Young Eagle Flights In Variety of Aircraft at St. Charles County Smartt Airport

By Carmelo Turdo
EAA Chapter 32 provided Young Eagle flights to area youth at St. Charles County Smartt Airport this weekend.  The Young Eagles program offers first flights to those aged 8-17 years old and a student membership in EAA that provides additional training towards obtaining a private pilot's license.  A variety of aircraft were available for the flights, including a 1942 Stearman biplane, homebuilt RV, Cessna 172, Piper Cherokee, Beechcraft Bonanza, R22 helicopter, among others.  EAA Chapter 32 is very active in the Young Eagles program, and provides flights monthly during the summer.  Check the EAA Chapter 32 website at for the next Young Eagles flight date.

F-84F Thunderstreak Display Receives Facelift and Commemorative Marker

By Carmelo Turdo
The F-84F Thunderstreak on display at Wilson Park in Granite City, IL is looking good after being repainted by Granite City Park District employees last fall.  Last October, the display received a commemoraive marker as a result of an Eagle Scout project completed by Jonathan Kersten, 18, a member of Boy Scout Troop 1046 in Pontoon Beach.  The F-84, manufactured by General Motors for Republic Aviation, was flown from Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio to nearby Scott AFB, and then airlifted to the site by a Skycrane helicopter. The aircraft was dedicated on October 30, 1971 and is sponsored by AMVETS Post 51.  For more information on the restoration, please visit

Here are some views of the aircraft and the marker:

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Flying in a 1941 Waco Biplane Over St. Louis Is Unforgettable Experience

By Carmelo Turdo
Exciting things are happening at St. Louis Downtown Airport, home of the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum and a new attraction - Kevin Kegin's 1941 Waco UPF-7 biplane.  Kevin and the museum are teaming up to invite you to take a flight in his beautiful Waco.  The Aero Experience recently flew in the Waco with Kevin, a 10,000 hour pilot, A&P mechanic and good old fashioned barnstormer.  There's nothing like a tour of the St. Louis riverfront in an open cockpit biplane, gently banking for a closer look at the Mississippi River and surrounding areas.  Contact Kevin at for your reservation.  While you are at the airport, visit the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum Friday-Sunday, 10am-4pm.  Here are some scenes from a recent flight in the Waco:


Friday, August 3, 2012

Ride In a 1941 Waco Biplane at the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum Saturday

By Carmelo Turdo
The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum will be hosting a 1941 Waco UPF-7 biplane during regular hours 10am-4pm tomorrow, August 4, at historic Curtiss-Wright Hangar 2 at St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia, IL.  Pilot Kevin Kegin will display the aircraft on the ramp near the museum, and will offer rides in the aircraft for only $125 per medium/large adult or 2 small adults/youth in the front cockpit.  Flying in the Waco is an experience you will not forget, riding the winds in an open cockpit along the St. Louis riverfront!  Don't miss this opportunity!

Here is what you may see during your Waco ride over the St. Louis riverfront:

Special thanks to pilot Kevin Kegin for today's flight and for bringing his beautiful Waco to the museum tomorrow.  More photos from today's flight will be featured in a future post.