Tuesday, October 31, 2023

2023 Giles Henderson Memorial Challenge Regional Aerobatic Contest Held in Salem, IL

By Carmelo Turdo

The Giles Henderson Memorial Challenge Aerobatic Contest was held September 9-10 at Salem-Leckrone Airport in central Illinois. The event, previously known as the IAC Chapter 61 Salem Regional Aerobatic Contest, continues the tradition of promoting aerobatic flying excellence through healthy competition in a safe environment. The contestants arrived on Friday, and the graded flights were made on Saturday and Sunday morning. The Aero Experience coverage includes the early morning preparations and two flights per aircraft on Saturday. 

(IAC Chapter 61 graphic)

The morning began with a glorious sunrise and the promise of beautiful blue skies for the rest of the day. The hangar door opened just after 7:00 A.M., and the aircraft were rolled out and positioned for the morning launch. The pilot and ground crew briefing went ahead shortly thereafter. Though the event has been running successfully for decades, a thorough briefing was held to help ensure that everyone involved understood the rules and procedures for a fair and safe competition. 

The judges gathered in position as the planes fired up for the contest flights. Special thanks to Chief Judge John Housley, Assistant Chief Judge Sherrie Roberts, Starter Denny McAlee, the contest judges and the support volunteers who made the contest run smoothly.

The participants in the Giles Henderson Memorial Challenge Aerobatic Contest appear below in the order of placement in their category.

Primary, First Place: Justin Miller, Pitts S-1-11 Toxic Stinker
Justin Miller also participated in these additional competitions:
IAC Chapter 78 in Spencer, IA: Second Place
IAC Chapter 80 in Seward, NE: Fourth Place
IAC Chapter 34 in Bellefontaine, OH: First Place
U.S. National Championship in Salina, KS: First Place

Primary, Second Place: Don Stanton, Super Decathlon

Sportsman, First Place: Tim Taylor, Ultimate Wings Pitts

Advanced, First Place: Mark Budd, Jr., Extra 300LT

Advanced, Second Place: Craig Fitzgerald, Extra 300L

Advanced, Third Place: Mark Budd, Sr., Extra 300LC

Advanced, Fourth Place: Bruce Ballew, Extra 300L

Advanced, Fifth Place: Chris Magon, Extra 300SC

Advanced, Sixth Place: Kate Volkova, Extra 300S

Advanced, Seventh Place: Dazz Whitaker, Pitts S-1-11B

Unlimited, First Place: Steve Grohsmeyer, MXS

The Aero Experience congratulates all of the pilots on their competitive placements, and we recognize each for their excellent flying skills and willingness to participate in IAC aerobatic contests. We look forward to the next Giles Henderson Memorial Challenge Aerobatic Contest scheduled for June 8-9, 2024. 

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