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

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Spirit of St. Louis Airshow: Saturday: Show Day Through the Eyes, Mind and Camera of a Fanatic!

By Leo Cachat
It's now Saturday morning, show day.  Today is the day the general public gets to see the results of all the hard work and practice.  My son and I head up to the airport, arrive at about  8:15a.m. and head to our spot at the far left hand side of the show line. I wanted this spot to photograph the warbirds in the best possible sunlight as they taxi out and back from the runway. The B-17 took to the air first, providing rides before the show started.  A few RV's came in, and two Christen Eagle biplanes taxied out and departed the airport - a nice little unexpected treat.


The show itself started with the AD-5 Skyraider taking to the air as the National Anthem played.  He made several nice passes through the show box. Patty Wagstaff flew next in the bright blue Chesterfield sky, which really illuminated the paint job on her beautiful black, orange and yellow Extra.


Skip Stewart took to the air next and flew superbly even at LOW levels across the show box. He performed his double ribbon cut with perfection, and always gives a great view of his aircraft as he slips it across the showline on its prop.


The warbirds were up next, how beautiful they were as they taxied by heading to the runway with their engines growling and the sun illuminating them perfectly. They took to the air and made several fly-bys, giving opportunities to photograph them as they seemingly were chasing each other through the box. It's not often you get to see that much living history in the same show, but we definitely had it here. As the warbirds taxied in, it was time for The Sky Soldiers to take the airspace.


The Sky Soldiers took us back 40 years to the jungles of Vietnam to show what it took to get the aircrew of a downed aircraft out of a combat area safely. The Huey made the pick up of the aircrew, but not before the Cobras made sure the enemy was clear of the area. It was great to see these old helicopters in a peacetime reenactment as opposed to what they had to face 40 years ago.  Great job gentlemen!

Mike Goulian then beat up the air in his power-packed aerobatic routine, showing why he is one of the premier performers on the airshow circuit and the Red Bull Air Races.  His plane looked beautiful as the light gleamed off of it as he climbed skyward.  At one point, he even seemed to touch wings with a Southwest Airlines 737!   Although he later confirmed he didn't even see the plane as he was climbing as it was actually around 20,000' above him, it  made for a neat photo!

Patty and Skip again took to the air, this time together for the famous Tin Styx routine. This routine includes opposing solo passes as well as other signature maneuvers showcasing each performer's high-octane brand of aerobatics.  They ended the act with a pass where one plane is right-side up and one plane is upside-down as they fly along the showline showing the different airframes together.

The F8F Bearcat painted as Blue Angel 1 taxied by and was off the ground next.  He also made several beautiful passes, and included some beautiful barrel rolls arching across the big blue sky.  It was a beautiful preview of another 4 engine prop plane, "Fat Albert," up next.


"Fat Albert" took to the air with the now clear sky (as opposed to the last two days where it had been cloudy).  The sun flashed off the big beautiful KC-130T as he performed all the magnificent maneuvers described in previous posts.  It was a great display of airmanship, making their routine such a pleasure to watch.

The Blue Angels rounded out this days show, and rather than go through all the adjectives to describe it, I'll let the pictures speak for me. As I write this, the withdrawals have subsided and it's time to once again thank everyone who made this show possible and the performers who came to entertain us doing what they love. It was truly my pleasure to be there as part of The Aero Experience to cover such a great event. I hope this becomes a yearly event,  but if it doesn't, I have a lifetime of memories.  For that I say: "Thank you!"


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