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

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Memorial Day Salute to Veterans Airshow Brings Community Together to Honor Veterans

By Carmelo Turdo
The Aero Experience continues our coverage of the 28th Annual Salute to Veterans Airshow held last weekend at Columbia, MO Regional Airport.  The airshow is one of a series of events held during the week preceding and including Memorial Day each year.  The airshow is  the most visible community event, and has become a staple Midwest Aviation airshow.  This year, the Salute to Veterans Airshow featured the Canadian Forces Skyhawks Parachute Team and the CF-18 Hornet Demo Team, the third time the CF-18 performed in Missouri in as many weeks.  The best weather for the weekend was on Sunday, so we picked that day to attend the airshow.

The most important part of the airshow schedule, the noon hour ceremony honoring the veterans lost in past and current conflicts and those veterans with local ties who could be present, was held at show center following a performance by the University of Missouri Joint Service Drill Team.  Among those honored were Vietnam War Ace of Aces USAF Colonel (Ret.) Charles DeBellevue; USAF Lt. Col. Maura George, combat veteran as a U.S. Army Blackhawk medevac pilot and USAFR C-130 pilot; and USAF Colonel (Ret.) Charles McGee, Tuskegee Airman and USAF career officer, among others. 


Static display aircraft were available for the visitors to examine and in some cases climb aboard.  Many of the aircraft were from the World War II-era, and others were current military aircraft like the A-10 Thunderbolt II and P-3C Orion.  A great moment in the static aircraft area occurred when Tuskegee Airman Colonel Charles McGee posed with pilot Rod Hightower near the autographed tail of his Stearman trainer.


The warbirds flying in the airshow included Kansas City Dawn Patrol World War I aircraft replicas, Friends of Jenny, Michael Kennedy's Valiant Echoes BT-13, MO CAF Wing B-25 Show Me, John Lohmar's  T-6 Texan Radial Velocity and Chip Lamb with the T-28 from the Trojan Phlyers Team.

Two military parachute teams performed - The Canadian Forces Skyhawks and U.S. Army Golden Knights.  Each team brought their own style of leading-edge parachute formations and maneuvers that kept the crowd's eyes to the skies.

And then there were the jets - Jerry Conley in the DeHavilland Vampire, the Canadian Forces CF-18 Hornet and the U.S. Navy Super Hornet Demo Team.


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