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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

Friday, May 24, 2019

Cape Girardeau Air Festival Attracts Top Airshow Performers and Exhibitors to the Midwest

By Carmelo Turdo
The Cape Girardeau Air Festival brought an outstanding selection of aircraft and aviation industry talent to the Midwest last weekend! The Aero Experience team was there on Friday to view the practice airshow as well as the exhibits and static displays that were arriving throughout the day. In this final edition of our week-long series, we feature a comprehensive view of the airshow performers and exhibitors we sampled in our previous coverage. We also open this story with a look at the scheduled commercial airline service that continued to operate at Cape Girardeau Regional Airport during the week. United Express offers several flights per day using their regional jets, and we show an example of one taxiing to the terminal on Friday morning.

Aircraft and exhibitors supporting the airshow arrived throughout the day and eventually found their position around the airport grounds. Below we show the Air Evac Life Team crew exiting the apron following their arrival and a U.S. Army Blackhawk helicopter that arrived earlier.  

Exhibitors also arrived throughout the day and worked their way to their locations on the event grounds. Featured here are: the Dream Big Entertainment A-7 Corsair II interactive cockpit experience; the Angel 9 Trans Am sponsored by Air Show Ministries; child play area under construction; and U.S. Navy recruiting exhibit featuring an actual T-45C Goshawk jet trainer.  

Warbirds were on the apron when we arrived, some of which would be flying in the airshow. The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) brought their P-51D Mustang, Red Nose, the first aircraft acquired for the CAF and currently hosted by the Dixie Wing in Peachtree City, GA. Another CAF Dixie Wing aircraft, the Goodyear-built (Vought) FG-1D Corsair, served in the U.S. Navy stateside until 1956. Two more privately-owned warbirds, John Fester's T-28A Trojan and the Flagship Detroit Foundation's DC-3 are beautiful examples of the "greatest Generation" of aircraft.   

Thom Richard is shown below in the only dual-control, TP-40N Warhawk trainer flying today. He put the classic World War II fighter through its paces, giving the photographers several perfect photo passes.  

Two A-10 Thunderbolt II jets from the Air Force Reserve Command 442nd FW, Whiteman AFB, MO where preparing for their flight in the early afternoon. They gave a tactical demonstration of attack maneuvers flown by A-10 crews as they blast targets such as tanks and bunkers in war zones around the world. Originally conceived as a tank busting platform in a NATO defense against a Soviet invasion during the Cold War-era, the A-10 has adopted the new nickname Warthog and has proven its worth as a versatile attack aircraft in the Middle East desert environment.  

Another airshow performer, former A-10 demonstration pilot Joseph "Rifle" Shetterly, flew his polished aluminum RV-8. The aircraft was built and flown by former military aviator and early A-10 test pilot the Late Eugene Gaddis, and it carries on the tradition of bringing precision aerobatic flying to audiences around the country. Here we feature "Rifle" flying his practice airshow, using the reflectivity of the metal aircraft skin to make some great reflection passes. He also raced an exotic sportscar and even allowed our friend Dewey Larson to call the show with the Dacy Air Shows crew!   

The current rendition of the Tin Stix of Dynamite show is performed by Skip Stewart and Gary Ward, with special guest appearance by the Shockwave Jet Truck. The routine involves two nationally-known airshow talents performing repeated opposing maneuvers, filling the air with white smoke, explosions and jet truck flaming exhaust blasts for dramatic effect. The individual headliners have changed over the years, but the excitement continues at each new event.

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels Demonstration Squadron is usually the headliner of any airshow, and the Cape Girardeau Air Festival was no exception. The Aero Experience has covered their arrival and media day activities in previous stories in this week's series, so now we will let the images tell the story of Friday's practice airshow.

The Aero Experience thanks the Cape Girardeau Air Festival and airport staff for making our visit enjoyable and productive. We also thank all airshow participants and sponsors for making this a great Midwest Aviation event! 

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