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

Friday, February 17, 2017

Living Aviation History Comes Alive at Missouri Aviation Historical Society Meeting Open Mic Nite

By Carmelo Turdo
Aviation history came alive as members of the Missouri Aviation Historical Society offered their best first-hand aviation stories during the open mic nite format of the monthly meeting Thursday evening.  The objective of the open mic nite was to help the members get to know one another and appreciate the contributions each have made to Missouri aviation.  To that aim, the meeting was a great success!

Some of the participants included:

Bob Delaney told MAHS members about his flight experiences during his travels for business and pleasure.  He took his first airplane flight as a Boy Scout pursuing the Aviation Merit Badge at the age of 12: "It was a really fun experience, and it definitely cured me of any anxieties I ever had about flying."
Donald Alwine, World War II veteran and gunnery instructor on B-17 bombers, regaled the group with wartime tales.  While flying aboard a B-17 during a bombing mission over Germany, he described how the Red Tail P-51 Mustangs came to defend the bomber against three German fighters.  There were three enemy fighters for the six Mustangs.  The response from the Red Tails - "Next time you call us for help, make sure there are enough hits (enemy fighters) to go around!" 
Larry Earhart, distant cousin to Amelia Earhart, kept the audience enthralled with his recollections from a long career with the former Trans World Airlines and charter flying.  He took his first flight at 4 years old, and went on to fly jumbo jets, including ferrying soldiers and military supplies to Vietnam and flying Pope John Paul II aboard TWA's Shepherd One papal charter.  Crew Resource Management training was a budding field.  "We were having other management groups coming to our CRM training...The American Medical Association sent a group of surgeons to figure out our communications process."

Martin Harris grew up near Creve Coeur Lake and knew many local aviators and war veterans.  He is involved with the continuing development of the Jefferson Barracks POW-MIA Museum.  "Our President, Mr. Paul Dillon's father, was on a B-17 shot down in 1943.  He was a prisoner of war in Germany until 1945." Now Harris works to make the museum a reality, a new place in St. Louis to remember our captured and missing service members and work for the return of those who have not yet come home.

These are just a few of the anecdotes gleaned from our February meeting.  Check back for the announcement for the March meeting, which will feature aviation art used on aircraft, usually known as "nose art."

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