|By Carmelo Turdo|
The skies over St. Charles County were filled with the sights and sounds of World War II-era Stearman trainers earlier this month when over a dozen of the iconic warbirds were in the air throughout the first weekend in June. A Stearman Flight Formation Clinic, hosted by Creve Coeur Airport, attracted Stearman pilots from around the Midwest. From June 1-3, pairs of aircraft launched throughout each day to hone their formation flying skills - the lead aircraft flown by an instructor and the other flown by a student/instructor crew. Creve Coeur Airport, home to several Stearman aircraft owners and the distinguished Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum, regularly hosts similar clinics, aircraft club reunions and antique aircraft events each year.
|By Fred Harl|
The Aero Experience was privileged to cover the June Stearman Flight Formation Clinic on Friday and Sunday (Saturday was a marginal weather day). Crews gathered early on Friday for breakfast and thorough briefing on the day's crew assignments and flights. Flights and elements met together then and throughout the day as flight operations continued. Details of the flight were recorded on the Stearman Flight Briefing Card, and each point was debriefed after each flight. Maneuvers such as left/right wing formation, cross under, close trail and break/rejoin were flown and evaluated. FAST formation proficiency certification was also available to those who qualify.
Crews attend early morning briefing, supervised by CFI John Ladley:
The first flights launched at around 7:30 a.m. and continued throughout the day. Aircraft paint schemes included the standard U.S. Army Air Corps blue and yellow, U.S. Navy yellow with red striping, all silver, recall blue and white stripes and the custom Super Stearman white with black trim livery of the Queen of Memphis flown by Julie Thomas.
The Aero Experience thanks the Stearman Flight organizers and crews for allowing access to their flight operations. Check back soon for coverage of Day Two.