Friday, April 29, 2016

TBM Gathering Connects Warbirds, Local Community - The Human Element

By Carmelo Turdo
Brad Deckert
By Leo Cachat
The April 16th free public TBM Gathering event at Illinois Valley Regional Airport provided a day of flying fun for visiting aviation buffs and the general public who attended by the thousands.  Event organizer, Brad Deckert, with the able assistance from the airport and warbird communities, brought together a large number of warbirds that included nine flying TBM Avengers, including his own.  Formation flights by T-6 Texan primary trainers, T-33 jet trainers, P-51 Mustangs and other warbirds added to the excitement throughout the day.  Visitors could experience flight as well by purchasing rides in an R-44 helicopter, T-6 Texan or the Missouri Commemorative Air Force TBM-3E Avenger.  The airport remained operational, accepting local and fly-in traffic that added variety to the aviation celebration unfolding before our eyes.

The Aero Experience team was there to bring the event to our audience and to thank the organizers for sharing their love of aviation with us.   We present here some additional coverage of Saturday's activities, including some of our favorite photos showing the human interaction between the crews, line staff and the visitors we saw during the day.  Special thanks to everyone who made the event possible, and we hope that there will be many more TBM Gatherings in the future.