Fliers from across the Midwest gathered for the Fall Fly-In at St. Louis Downtown Airport (KCPS) on Saturday. The event was one of several fly-ins held around the area, and some of the participants ate their breakfast with EAA Chapter 1402 in Sullivan, MO earlier in the day. It has been several years since there was a general aviation fly-in at KCPS, and this one was planned as a low-key lunch stop for those winging their way from Sullivan or other nearby communities. The event was organized by Aaron Tarlow, a Piper Comanche pilot based at the airport, with special thanks to the airport management, air traffic controllers, Jet Aviation and Big River Aviation.
|By Carmelo Turdo|
Aircraft began arriving around noon, just in time to get lunch from the food trucks and see the airport's guest warbird, P-51C Mustang Tuskegee Airmen, taxi out from the apron and take off for the Arsenal of Democracy 75th World War II Victory Commemoration Flyover in Washington, D.C. The World War II fighter will be temporarily based at the airport when it returns from the nation's Capitol.
One of the attractions for the fly-in was the F-4 Phantom jet cockpit exhibit provided by the Gateway Youth Aeronautical Foundation. The foundation's mission is to inspire youth to discover the world of aviation, and one way to do that is to provide the opportunity for the public to actually sit a fully-restored military jet cockpit. The exhibit is available for events and STEM programs in the St. Louis and surrounding areas. Click on the link above for more information.
Aircraft arrived throughout the afternoon, some pilots staying for lunch while others lingered longer to enjoy the perfect fall-like weather. Typical general aviation aircraft - Cessnas, Pipers and Mooneys - were represented. One Mooney sported a new paint job, one that seemed to change colors as it taxied. Also a nice surprise - a pair of Piper Saratogas made a formation fly-by over the runway around 1:30 P.M.
Another unique aspect of the KCPS Fly-In was the appearance of four Piper Comanches from around the Midwest. Along with Aaron Tarlow's KCPS-based Grace, Eric Jones, Mike Ellis and Rick Mascari flew their Comanches in for the afternoon. You may recognize Mascari's Comanche 400 from our coverage of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in previous years.
Several experimental aircraft were also present at the fly-in. They had their own display area, and everyone was treated to a Christen Eagle/Extra 300L smoke trail departure fly-by!