Monday, April 30, 2018

April In Review: Midwest Airports Offer Aircraft Viewing Opportunities

By Carmelo Turdo
After a cold start to spring, the last few weeks in April have offered improved flying weather and more opportunities to view Midwest Aviation in action. The Aero Experience has been visiting Missouri and Illinois airports to report on recent aviation events (more stories coming soon), and along the way, we took some time to observe the local air traffic as well. In this collection, we feature samples from five different airports that illustrate the great variety of aircraft that could be seen in operation even by the casual observer. Each airport has it's own unique clientele, and below is just a snapshot of the aircraft seen during our visits.

St. Louis Downtown Airport, Cahokia, IL   

On our visit to St. Louis Downtown Airport, a frequent destination, we show a Convair 440 and World War II veteran C-47, a Piper Cub banner tower, Big River Aviation's Cessna 172, a team charter Boeing 757, Parks College Diamond DA-20 trainer and Piper Aztec former VW Motors corporate aircraft. Operations at North American Helicopter (formerly Fostaire and Midwest Helicopter Academy) include primary training in the Guimbal Cabri G2 and sorties in the Bell Helicopter 206B and 212 models. A pair of USAF UH-1Ns from the 1st Helicopter Squadron, Andrews AFB, MD visited for a short time before continuing on their journey.

Spirit of St. Louis Airport, Chesterfield, MO

Spirit of St. Louis Airport is host to many general aviation and business aircraft operators. In our survey below, we include a Cessna 172 from Elite Aviation, a variety of general aviation aircraft from Cessna, Piper, Beechcraft and Cirrus, vintage Luscombe and experimental aircraft, Piper Comanches donated to Wings of Hope, several Bombardier Challenger jets, and helicopters from Air Evac Life Team and St. Louis County Police Department.

Washington Regional Airport, MO

Washington Regional Airport is currently undergoing apron construction while continuing normal operations. In our coverage below, preparations for pouring new concrete continues as a Cessna Citation Mustang lands in the background. The airport hosts a variety of general aviation aircraft, and is home to airshow performer Patrick McAlee's Pitts Special the Blue Demon.  

St. Louis Metro-East Shafer Airport, St. Jacob, IL and Perryville Regional Airport, MO

Short visits to these airports yielded some interesting aircraft. At St. Louis Metro-East Shafer Airport we caught Robert Bosche and his family taking off for the first time together in his Piper Arrow IV. At Perryville Regional Airport, The Aero Experience team member Fred Harl captured aerial sidewall trimming using a ten-bladed saw suspended beneath a Hughes 369D utility helicopter operated by Rotor Blade Airborne Utilities Management.