Monday, November 30, 2015

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015: Airshow Performers - Jerry "Jive" Kerby and Wild Blue: Fly Jive Fly!
Fred Harl and Carmelo Turdo
The Aero Experience was glad to see our friend Jerry "Jive" Kerby flying the RV-8A Wild Blue in the day and evening airshows at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015.  Jive put the modified homebuilt through its paces in fighter pilot style, flying precision classic aerobatic maneuvers.    

Jive has flown a variety of aircraft in airshows, including the first Heritage Flight QF-4E season in 2005 as Commander of the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron at Tyndall AFB, FL following extensive experience flying F-15s in active service.  Since retiring from active duty in 2006, he has been involved with several high-profile aerobatic acts:  Collings Foundation F-4D Phantom II, Black Diamond Jet Team Lead L-39, Trojan Horsemen Wing and Solo T-28, Team MS760 Morane-Saulnier MS760, and solo performances in many other types.  It is no surprise that Jive calls his aerobatic RV-8A "Wild Blue," and when the crowds see it zip by they yell,  "Fly, Jive, Fly!"



Jerry "Jive" Kerby and LM "Lunar" Sawyer are also featured in the newly released Fly Now! The Movie and Fly Now! Book:

The premiere of the Reality Aviation Documentary Fly Now! The Movie took place at the St. Louis Hi-Pointe Theater on October 17.  The film chronicles the adventures of aviators from around the country as the movie crew and their trusty homebuilt Pietenpol aircraft travel from St. Louis to Lakeland, Florida, Oshkosh, WI and many places in between.  After much hard work, the self-funded, independent film got its wings in front of a home-town audience.  A limited amount of Fly Now! gear - T-shirts and caps, are now available at the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum.   

Brian Kissinger and Rick Rehg with the new Fly Now! gear

The Fly Now! The Movie team and The Aero Experience are now proud to announce the publishing of the accompanying Fly Now! Book, written by Brian Kissinger and illustrated by The Aero Experience.  The book chronicles the Fly Now! spirit with inspirational words from Brian Kissinger and photos from the year of Midwest Aviation activities.  The first 50 autographed, hard-bound books with DVD movie are now available for pre-order at only $50!  To place your order, contact Carmelo Turdo via Facebook or order directly here.  Orders will be available December 12 at the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum rollout event or by mail.
The Aero Experience: Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil, Fred Harl, Leo Cachat

Some of the people featured in the book and movie include:
Brian K. Kissinger
Jerry "Jive" Kerby and LM "Lunar" Sawyer

Director Jeff Wilson with Pitts Special Patrick McAlee

Greg Colyer flies "Ace Maker" T-33

Bob Richards performs his signature tail wheel drag

Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Tribute to Steve O'Berg: Thanksgiving for a Life Well Lived

By Leo Cachat
The Aero Experience was privileged to be a part of the media coverage at the 2015 Cameron, MO Airshow.  We, like others who were there, witnessed a tragic accident which took the life of a very experienced pilot, Steve O'berg, during Saturday's airshow.

Steve O'Berg flew his slick-looking red and white Pitts S-2B with the energy and precision needed to hold the crowd's attention. He was 50 years old, a husband, father, grandfather, son and brother. He had 4,000 hours of flight time while serving in the U.S. Army, 400 of which he spent flying missions in Iraq. He also had 7,000 hours flight time in various helicopters and airplanes.

This was the second year in a row I was privileged to watch him fly in Cameron. I never got a chance to talk to him because it seemed like he was always getting ready to fly, which was fine with me because that's what I love to watch. At this year's show, during Saturday's briefing, he stood just one person away from me and the last thing I heard him say made everyone who heard it laugh.  Although I didn't know him personally, those who did had nothing but good things to say about him, and I'd have to believe them based on all the pictures I have of him taxiing by me at the show.  He always had a big smile and a wave. You could tell he loved what he was doing.

Another photographer and myself were the closest to him when he went down, and it was something I will never forget.  When it happened, I just said a prayer and got across the runway and out of the way so the emergency personnel could get to his location. It was something I hope no one ever again has to witness. As I stood in shock with everyone else watching what was playing out, many things were going through my head.  I thought of his family first and prayed that God would watch over them and comfort them as they must have been horrified by what had happened.  I thought of other pilots who had passed away performing at airshows, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't tear up thinking about how these men and women put their lives on the line for people like me who lose all sense of everything in the world while watching them perform as since I was little. I hope everyone takes time, if they get a chance, to talk to the pilots and thank them for what they do.  Although they make it look effortless, the margin for error is very slim.

I guess one of the biggest things that hit me after I got over the shock of the event itself was how Steve O'Berg affected people even after his accident.  Generally there is a certain disconnect between performers and photographers at airshows. We as photographers want to get great photographs, but we don't want to be overbearing towards the pilots in doing so. So there is a certain sort of line that separates us.  In the briefing after the accident, it was as if that line didn't exist.  It wasn't pilots and photographers; it was a group of caring human beings who had a deep concern for a husband, father, grandfather, son and brother, and that day his last flight created a bond between us all. Thank you one last time. Steve. Thank you to the O'berg family for supporting him in what he loved and what we love. You will be missed.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015: Airshow Performers - USAF Heritage Flight

Fred Harl and Carmelo Turdo Heritage Flight has been a favorite airshow attraction since its inception in 1997 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Air Force.  The Heritage Flight performance features several passes flown by current and past generations of U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army Air Force (now civilian warbirds) aircraft.  The Heritage Flight quickly became a standard feature of military and later civilian-based airshows, and the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation was formed in 2010 to coordinate the recruitment and training of civilian pilots who fly the warbirds from the World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War eras in formation with the current USAF combat aircraft from the established Air Combat Command demo teams (F-22, F-16, etc.).

The EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 Heritage Flight consisted of F-22 Raptor Demo Team pilot Major John Cummings along with two World War II era fighters: P-38 Lightning and P-51D Mustang.  The following photo essay shows three different Heritage Flight performances flown during the week:

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Friday, July 24, 2015

Sunday, July 26, 2015