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

Monday, November 10, 2014

Stretch of Highway in Washington County, Missouri Named for Aviation Pioneer Tom Benoist

By Leo Cachat
On Saturday, November 8, a stretch of Highway U in Washington County, Missouri was named for aviation pioneer Tom Benoist, a native of Irondale.  The bill to authorize the name change was sponsored by Missouri Representative Paul Fitzwater and three others, with the expenses for signage coming from private funding.  Knowing this, the Missouri Aviation Historical Society joined the fund-raising effort, and this work was rewarded with the dedication ceremony.  House Bill No. 1337, 97th General Assembly, reads:

The portion of State Highway U from the intersection of Province Road to the intersection of State Highway 8 in Washington County shall be designated the “Thomas Wesley Benoist Memorial Highway”. The department of transportation shall erect and maintain appropriate signs designating such highway with the costs to be paid by private donations.

The Aero Experience was on hand Saturday afternoon at the childhood residence of aviation pioneer, Tom Benoist, to witness the ceremony for the renaming of 8.4 miles of highway U in Washington County, MO in his honor.  A crowd of about 40 people gathered for this his special occasion.  Members of VFW Post 6996 from Potosi, MO presented the colors.  Missouri State Representative Paul Fitzwater (R) spoke of his efforts to have the roadway renamed. Chuck Benoist, Tom's nephew, and other members of the Benoist family were on hand to honor Tom Benoist.  Author Gary Liming spoke about Tom Benoist's many aviation accomplishments in the early 1900's, and of his untimely and bizarre death in a streetcar accident.  All told, it was the culmination of the efforts of many over the last year to make this dedication possible.  Well done, Benoist Family and aviation community!  

For more information on the life and accomplishments of Tom Benoist, please read
"The Brief, Bright Aviation Career of St. Louis's Tom Benoist" by Frederick W. Roos, available through permission of American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum.

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