Greetings from The Aero Experience Team


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, June 7, 2019

44th Annual Giles Henderson Memorial Challenge Aerobatic Contest Held at Salem-Leckrone Airport

By Carmelo Turdo
The Giles Henderson Memorial Challenge Aerobatic Contest was held May 18 at Salem-Leckrone Airport in central Illinois. The 2019 event, previously known as the IAC Chapter 61 Salem Regional Aerobatic Contest, was the 44th edition of the longest continuously running competition in IAC history. The thirteen aircraft were rolled out from the airport hangar before the early Saturday morning briefing. 

Flying activity began after the judges briefed and lined up to score the contestants. Most of 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:

Jordan Heuerman, Pitts S-1S, First Place Primary


Alyssa Pasquale, Skybolt, Second Place Primary

Robert Hamilton, Pitts S-1C, First Place Sportsman, Grass Roots Medallion


John Strong, Super Decathlon, Second Place Sportsman, Highest Scoring First-Time Sportsman


Todd Ashcraft, Skybolt, Third Place Sportsman; Mariano Rosales, Seventh Place, Sportsman

Galen Killam, Vans RV-8, Fourth Place Sportsman


David Schmitz, Vans RV-8, Fifth Place Sportsman


Sean Sweeney, Staudacher S-300, Sixth Place Sportsman


James Heinz, Pitts S-2A, Eighth Place, Sportsman


Cameron Grossl, Christen Eagle II, First Place Intermediate

Steven Johnson, MX2, First Place Advanced


John Housley, Pitts S-2C, Second Place Advanced


Brent Smith, Pitts S-1S, Third Place Advanced

Steven Grohsmeyer, MXS, First Place Unlimited 


The Aero Experience commends IAC Chapter 61 for its distinguished record providing aerobatic contests in the heart of the Midwest and Salem-Leckrone Airport for hosting the event. Coverage of past contests can be found by searching The Aero Experience home page

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