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

Monday, July 27, 2020

Terre Haute Warbirds Fly-In Features Restored Douglas C-47

By Carmelo Turdo
The Aero Experience was back in the air Saturday, flying from St. Louis to Terre Haute and back with our friend, Aaron Tarlow, in his beautiful Piper Comanche named Grace. Tarlow, the second-generation owner of the Comanche, told the story of growing up with the aircraft during an in-flight video interview last spring. We flew each hour-long leg of the trip in the humid, hazy Midwest skies that offered spectacular views of the clouds topping at about 8,000 feet on the return trip. The fast, very comfortable Comanche was an ideal way to travel to meet up with our Midwest Aviation community. A video of our flight will be available on The Aero Experience YouTube Channel in the near future.

We arrived at the Hoosier Aviation terminal around 11:00 A.M. (one-hour forward change from St. Louis) after parking on the main apron. The marshallers and lobby staff were professional and courteous, and made our visit very pleasant. The terminal displays illustrated the history of the airport, then called Hulman FIeld, since it's opening in 1944. The waiting areas were clean, comfortable and stocked with amenities, creating a welcoming environment.

General aviation aircraft gathered throughout the day on the fly-in apron in front of the terminal, while aircraft belonging to the flight crews and warbirds were parked around the corner. Several North American Texans and Mustangs were present, along with a  T-28A Trojan, three Beech 18 variants, a TBM Avenger, a Douglas Skyraider, two Cessna O-1 Bird Dogs and an L-39C Albatros jet. Some of the warbirds, including those featured in a previous story from the Northwest Iowa Regional Airport fly-in last weekend, flew photo flights during the day. Here we have a selection of fly-in and warbird aircraft seen during our mid-day visit.

One of the formation flights included John Fester in his sharp T-28A Trojan flying with the P-51D Mustang and Greg Vallero's AT-6F Texan. A separate flight of four Texans was also in the air that afternoon. 

For The Aero Experience and St. Louis-area aviation community, the star of the day was the restored Douglas C-47A that has undergone an incredible transformation since arriving in Terre Haute in May of 2017. Vintage Wings Aircraft, based on the airport, has restored the aircraft to regular flight status in pristine Canadian Air Force colors over the polished aluminum skin. During our afternoon visit, the C-47 hauled the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Black Daggers for their team jump. Among the jumpers was Vintage Wings Aircraft owner Jordan Brown's son, Jordan Ray, seen here in the tandem jump at the end of this sequence. Some history on this 1942 C-47 can be found in The Aero Experience story about this aircraft.  

The Aero Experience thanks the event organizers mentioned above and the individual warbird crews participating in this great Midwest Aviation event. We also thank Aaron Tarlow for flying us to Terre Haute and back to St. Louis in his beautiful Piper Comanche.

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