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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

Monday, June 18, 2018

Giles Henderson Memorial Challenge Aerobatic Contest at Salem-Leckrone Airport, Day Two

By Carmelo Turdo
The Giles Henderson Memorial Challenge Aerobatic Contest was held June 9-10 at Salem-Leckrone Airport in Central Illinois. This 2018 event, previously known as the IAC Chapter 61 Salem Regional Aerobatic Contest, was the 43rd edition of the longest continuously running competition in IAC history. The fifteen aircraft were again rolled out  from two airport hangars before the early Sunday morning briefing. Additional crews from the University of South Dakota (UND) Aerobatic Team were scheduled to fly multiple Primary and Sportsman Power sorties in their Super Decathlon. Results of the contest can be found on the IAC Chapter 61 website.

Unlike Saturday, Day Two stayed sunny and nearly windless. The remaining scheduled flights were accomplished by mid afternoon.  Below are some views of the ground activity before the first flights took off:   

Flying activity began only after the judges briefed and lined up to score the contestants. The judges have experience flying and judging previous contests, and each station included a judge, caller and recorder. The caller narrates the known routines as they are flown to give the judge additional aural reference to each maneuver. The recorder marks the judge's score and comments as each maneuver is completed. Each score sheet is collected after each flight before the next pilot is cleared into the aerobatic box.

Aerobatic Contest Pilots and Their Aircraft:

University of North Dakota Aerobatic Team, Super Decathlon - Primary and Sportsman

John Strong, Super Decathlon – Primary

Robert Hamilton, Pitts S-1C – Sportsman

David Schmitz, Vans RV-8 – Sportsman

Karl Icenogle, Pitts S-2B – Sportsman

Cameron Grossl, Christen Eagle II – Intermediate

Justin Hickson, Pitts S-2B – Intermediate

Bruce Ballew, Extra 300L – Intermediate (departure)

Corey Johnson, Pitts S-1C – Intermediate

David Underwood, Extra 200 – Intermediate

Wayne Buescher, Staudacher S-600F – Intermediate

Doug Bartlett, Sukhoi SU-29 (departure)

Steven Johnson, MX2 – Advanced

John Housley, Pitts S-2C - Advanced

Steven Grohsmeyer, MXS - Unlimited

Just after the competition flying was concluded, we received a special visit from U.S. Aerobatic Advanced Team Captain Aaron McCartan and team member Michael Lents. They were returning from the IAC Chapter 3 contest, where Team USA swept places 1-6 and 8. Michael Lents is the aerobatic coach for the University of North Dakota Aerobatic Team featured here and above flying their Super Decathlon.   

The Aero Experience thanks IAC Chapter 61, Salem-Leckrone Airport management, the competition pilots, judges and Team USA for making the first Giles Henderson Memorial Challenge a great success!

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