Thursday, May 11, 2023

The Aero Experience Week In Review: Spirit of St. Louis Airport and Creve Coeur Airport

By Carmelo Turdo
The Aero Experience continues to work with our sponsor partners on stories and projects that will unfold over the next few weeks and months, and our visits to their facilities make for fun experiences in themselves. This week we were on site at Spirit of St. Louis Airport and Creve Coeur Airport, and here we can share a portion of our activities in this Week In Review. 

Elite Aviation continues to grow in their sixth year in business on the north apron of Spirit of St. Louis Airport. The training and rental fleet consists of eleven Cessna 172S Skyhawks and a Piper Turbo Saratoga complex/high performance trainer/cruiser. A Redbird MCX full-motion flight simulator is also available through Alpha Flight Simulation, and Elite Aviation also provides an FAA written test room for any eligible flight student. An experienced team provides inspection and maintenance services for most general aviation aircraft types, including the local Civil Air Patrol fleet. Elite Aviation is a sponsor of the Red Tail Cadet Program, now entering its third year.

Wings of Hope is celebrating their 60th Anniversary of providing humanitarian aviation services in the U.S. and around the world. Following our recent series of stories covering the SOAR Into STEM Spring Session, The Aero Experience was honored to attend the 2023 Soaring to New Heights Gala at the Frontenac Hilton April 29. This week, we attended the weekly staff and volunteer meeting for an update on current programs. The Wings of Hope hangar is a busy place, with the fleet aircraft undergoing inspections and updates along with the future raffle aircraft and the Cessna 206 rebuild project. We continue to support what we consider one of the best uses of aviation - serving those in need.

Gateway Flight Training has been providing pilot training and aircraft maintenance services at Creve Coeur Airport for over ten years. Along with Private, Instrument, Commercial and CFI training, Gateway Flight Training offers multi-engine and ATP training as well. They are equipped to service general aviation and business aircraft, including King Air class turboprops. Gateway Flight Training is an Aspen and Avidyne avionics licensed dealer and installer, and they also install and service Electronics International engine monitors. In the hangar this week we viewed a Cessna 210 on jacks undergoing a gear swing test and the flight school's Cessna 172RG getting an avionics panel overhaul. The Piper Warrior also went up for one of several training flights that afternoon. Gateway Flight Training is a supporter of aviation safety programs, including FAASTeam St. Louis FISDO Wings seminars and programs hosted by the Greater St. Louis Flight Instructors Association and Greater St. Louis Business Aviation Association.

Piston Aviation was also active during our visit, and we caught their newest Piper Cherokee and the Bristell LSA on training flights. The St. Louis area's newest flight school recently celebrated their 100th student in just ten months at the airport, and their fleet has increased to seven aircraft including two Bristell LSAs. Piston Aviation is also a Bristell Aircraft dealer and will be opening their aircraft maintenance service in July. Piston Aviation supports the local aviation community as a sponsor of the Gateway Youth Aeronautical Foundation, the Women in Aviation International St. Louis Women With Wings Chapter and the Greater St. Louis Flight Instructors Association. Here we feature Piston Aviation's Cherokee Kiki on a training flight and flight student Mario returning from his solo flight in the Bristell named Minx.

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