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

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Midwest Aero Restorations Recreates Warbird Legends

By Mark Nankivil
On a recent trip to Muncie, Indiana, I saw an opportunity to travel in a different direction so that I could stop by Vermillion Regional Airport (KDNV), located just a few miles north of Danville, Illinois, to visit Midwest Aero Restorations and see what warbirds they were in the process of restoring.  I called a few days beforehand to confirm I could stop in and was given a friendly "Stop on by!"

As you pull up into sight of the airport, you'll find F-86H-1-NA 52-1983, one of the first H models built, standing guard just inside the airport entrance.  She's painted to represent a Sabre flown by Lt. J.W. Hegeler during the Korean War while flying out of K-13 airfield near Suwon, South Korea in late 1952 through late 1953. Finding Midwest Aero Restorations is straightforward, as they are also the FBO for the airport.  The terminal area is a warbird lover's paradise with the walls covered with excellent framed large-format photos of aircraft that they have restored, the P-51 Mustang being the dominant type.  Owned by Mike Vadeboncoeur, Midwest Aero Restorations has a well deserved reputation of turning out fine examples of restored warbirds, the latest being NL151JT painted to represent F-51D-20-NA 44-12943 while serving with the 12th Fighter Bomber Squadron during the Korean War.  As you can see in the photos, she's decked out with HVARs (High Velocity Aircraft Rocket) and 500 lb bombs, and the level of accuracy in the details is a sight to behold.

Elsewhere in their facilities was P-51D N514RP "Red Dog" which is undergoing repairs after an engine fire.  "Red Dog" was the 2006 Reserve Grand Champion at Oshkosh, a testament to the quality of their work and there's no doubt she'll look great again.  Also undergoing rebuild is P-51D NL751RB, formerly painted as P-51D-5-NA "Glamorous Gal" while yet a fourth P-51D was also undergoing a rebuild though I missed what N# she had.

Out on the airport ramp, there was an Air Tractor AT602 crop duster with other crop dusters tucked away in the northernmost hangar. Parked alongside the Air Tractor was a Short Brothers SD3-60 operated by Air Cargo Carriers, an aircraft type you don't see often.

I want to thank Mike and his staff for their friendly hospitality during my short visit to their facilities.

Midwest Aero
Vermillion Regional Airport (KDNV)

22563 N. Bowman
Danville, IL  61834



Fred Harl and Carmelo Turdo

During The Aero Experience Team's visit to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013, we had the pleasure of viewing P-51D NL151JT among the numerous Mustangs in the Warbirds area.  Here are some additional photos of "Was That Too Fast" from late July:

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