Thursday, December 30, 2021

Dream Flights St. Louis Visit Flies Six World War II Veterans

By Carmelo Turdo
Six World War II veterans were recently honored with flights over the St. Louis area in 1940s-vintage Stearman training aircraft. The flights were provided by Dream Flights, a non-profit organization that was founded as the Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation by the Fisher Family in 2011. The 1,000th Dream Flight was given in May of 2015, and the program has grown so much that it is expected that 1,000 flights will be given in just the current Operation September Freedom program using six aircraft in 61 days of flying. The fascinating story of the origin of Dream Flights can be found in the November 2016 issue of Stearman Flying Wire magazine.

Dream Flights made two tour stops in the St. Louis area this fall, each time with a different Stearman aircraft and crew. The first aircraft and crew arrived on September 1 at Creve Coeur Airport when pilot Andrew Lohmar and crew chief Allyssa VanMeter (aka Fly Allyssa) landed on the grass runway at 3:30 P.M. following a Dream Flight event in Neosho, MO. The 1943 Boeing Stearman B75N1 N69652 is similar to the over 10,000 used to train U.S. and Canadian military service pilots during World War II. They were later used by civilian pilot training schools and became a standard crop dusting platform for decades. The vertical tail surface is immortalized with the signatures of the veterans flown in the aircraft. Five World War II veterans were flown over St. Charles County the next day.

The St. Louis area was fortunate to have another Dream Flight scheduled for Monday, September 6, at St. Louis Downtown Airport just across the Mississippi River in Cahokia, IL. World War II veteran Robert Schultz (99), U.S. Marine Corps, served on the USS California (repaired from the attack on Pearl Harbor) in crucial battles across the Pacific Theater. After the war, he used the G.I. Bill to obtain a degree in business administration and worked in real estate and insurance. "I actually never retired, I just kind of slowly faded away!" He was surrounded by family, friends and members of the local and district VFW. He flew with pilot Clint Cawley assisted by his wife, Andrea, in the original Dream Flights "Super Stearman" restored by the Fisher family.

The Aero Experience original story can be found at: Dream Flights Honors Six World War II Veterans During Visits to St. Louis Airports. We also feature a video below covering the highlights of each visit. Thanks to Dream Flights for honoring our World War II veterans in this unique way, and we hope to host more flights in the coming year.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

IAC Chapter 61 Announces Date for 2022 Giles Henderson Memorial Challenge Aerobatic Contest in Salem, IL

By Carmelo Turdo

IAC Chapter 61 has announced that the 2022 Giles Henderson Memorial Challenge Aerobatic Contest will be held June 3-5 at Salem-Leckrone Airport in Illinois. The 47th Annual event is believed to be the longest continuously running chapter aerobatic contest in the country, and it continues to draw participants from around the region. The Aero Experience has been privileged to cover the competitions in recent years, and our two-part series can be found using the links below:

Giles Henderson Memorial Challenge Regional Aerobatic Contest Held in Salem, IL Part 1: Saturday

Giles Henderson Memorial Challenge Regional Aerobatic Contest Held in Salem, IL Part 2: Sunday

We also have a video, included below, that gives a whirlwind look at the weekend's activities on August 21-22, 2021. We hope you enjoy reliving the contest with us, and be sure to come next year as a participant or watch the action from outside the terminal with a picnic lunch.

Monday, December 27, 2021

December General Aviation (and More!) Survey

By Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl
The Aero Experience looks back on the month of December in this General Aviation (and More!) Survey. In this edition, we present a variety of aircraft encountered during our visits to airports while covering stories from around the Midwest. We hope you enjoy this review of our aviation community

Creve Coeur Airport, Maryland Heights, MO

St. Louis Downtown Airport, Cahokia, IL

Spirit of St. Louis Airport, Chesterfield, MO

Special Bonus: Medical Helicopters Over St. Louis and Santa's Local Delivery from Farmington, MO