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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

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Solar Eclipse In the Midwest: Perryville Airport Fly-In Is Perfect Place to Experience Totality, Part 1

By Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl
The solar eclipse totality experienced in a swath of North America yesterday was one of the year's scientific and cultural highlights, and The Aero Experience team was at the Perryville Municipal Airport in southeast Missouri to witness and record our experience.  The airport in recent years has added a self-serve fuel facility, pilot training and other services, and is host to Sabreliner Aviation.  The 7,000-foot runway can accommodate moderately-sized executive jets as well as general aviation aircraft.         

We begin our coverage in Part 1 with a look at the arrivals, including The Aero Experience team member Fred Harl, in pilot Marvin Pitney's red and white Cessna 172.  Fred Harl met up with his friend, Don Frazier, covering the event for KFVS 12 News.  Our morning coverage includes more arrivals, aircraft parking, a brisk T-shirt business at the main hangar and some super heroes guarding the planet from all villains.  We will include coverage of the variety of the over 100 aircraft that flew in Monday in Part 2.

At midday, four balloons were launched, each carrying payloads of cameras and experiments designed to capture the totality from thousands of feet above the ground. Launched in pairs, the balloons rose together in parallel in the breezeless blue sky.  Though it was seasonably hot and very humid, the weather front due into the area held off until the evening.

The time came to cover the solar eclipse itself, and we set up our cameras to record some images of the actual eclipse and also the lighting effects on the aircraft surrounding us on the apron.  Mark Nankivil prepared his camera with a filtered lens for capturing the views of the sun through totality, and Carmelo Turdo and Fred Harl focused on other sites as the lighting changed from full sunlight to darkness surrounded by an orange ring all around us.  One aircraft, an RV-6 built and owned by John Scharff of Clinton, IL, was the target for the next series of photos taken over 40 minutes before, during and after totality.  We also included a few more totality photos of other aircraft, and Mark Nankivil's eclipse photos.  




In Part 2, we will show the variety of aircraft from around the country that attended the eclipse fly-in.  Special thanks to the City of Perryville, MO, Mr. Greg Gremminger, John Scharff and all who helped make our coverage of the event possible.

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