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2018 Spirit of St. Louis Air Show & STEM Expo – Inspiration, Learning and Legacy: An event you can’t miss

By: Ellen Lampe


Spirit of St. Louis Air Show

Saturday, Oct. 13 and Sunday, Oct. 14

Spirit of St. Louis Airport, 18270 Edison Ave., Chesterfield, MO 63005

Schedule of events:

9 a.m.-5 p.m. each day

[Schedule is the same for both days, unless specified]

9 a.m.Gates open

9 a.m.-5 p.m. STEM Expo activities and exhibits open; Static Aircraft Display open; Camp Spirit and Exhibitors open

10-10:30 a.m.Experimental Aircraft Association [EAA] Aviation Theater: Flying Clubs Can Make Flying Affordable

11:30 a.m. Opening Ceremony and Air Show; Highlights include Canadian CF-18 Hornet Demo Team, Boeing B-29 Superfortress ‘Doc,’ Susan Dacy & Big Red [Boeing Super Stearman], USAF F-16 Viper Demo Team, Skip Stewart Airshows, Heritage Flight with P-38 Lightning flown by Kevin Eldridge, Phillips 66 Aerostars [4 ship Extra 300Ls], B-25 Mitchell CAF MO Wing, TBM Avenger CAF MO Wing.

3-5 p.m.[Saturday only]Concert by Contagious

4-4:30 p.m.EAA Aviation Theater: How To Get Your Pilot’s License

5 p.m.Event closes

All times are approximate. All times and/or acts are subject to change. Order of performers subject to change.

Tips to enjoy the show:

Bring: Ear protection, sunscreen, hat and sunglasses, binoculars, camp chairs or blankets, comfortable walking shoes [many areas not paved] and cash [credit cards are accepted for merchandise vendors; food vendors accept cash only]

Do not bring: Tents, large umbrellas, coolers, food or drink [vendors will be on-site], pets, tobacco, weapons or firearms [including concealed carry permit holders], bicycles, skateboards or scooters

Tickets and parking:

Tickets are available online only and will not be sold at the gate. To get tickets, go to spirit-airshow.com/purchase-tickets/.

General Admission tickets are $20 each day. Tickets are free for military members and children under age 6.

Parking is free for all attendees. Cars will be directed to designated lots. A handicapped parking area will be available near the entrance to the grounds, with golf carts and wheelchairs for those who need assistance.

STEM Expo:

For those who have ever sat in a classroom and wondered, ‘Will I ever use this information in the real world?’, the Spirit of St. Louis Air Show & STEM Expo is the place to be. There, you’ll witness science, technology, engineering and math [STEM] live in action with the rumbling performances of acrobatic jets zipping through the air. But the show isn’t just about ogling from afar; a plethora of static planes will be on display to explore up-close, as well as the STEM Expo area featuring robots, stomp rockets, 3D glasses, mobile tech units and more.

STEM Expo exhibitors include: Boeing, Boy Scouts of America Greater St. Louis Area Council, Boys and Girls Clubs of Saint Charles County FIRST Robotics Teams, Bricks 4 Kidz, NASA Weather Service, St. Louis Astronomical Society, STEM2U Youth Programs and many more.

The hands-on, interactive experiences in the STEM Expo are designed to excite and inform students, parents, adults and the community about the importance of STEM education and careers. From aviation to biotechnology to engineering design to IT – STEM careers are the future.

Camp Spirit:

Camp Spirit, formerly known as Veterans’ Village, will again be featured at this year’s Air Show. The area will showcase a large number of military exhibits, showcasing things such as equipment and memorabilia. Camp Spirit serves as a salute to those who serve and who have served, and also provides information and resources to those who may be interested in joining the military.

Air Show performers:

Nineteen different aircraft are set to perform at the 2018 Air Show, making for a diverse range of planes and talents showcased. Some of the headliners of the show are the Canadian CF-18 Hornet Demo Team, the USAF F-16 Viper Demo Team, the Phillips 66 Aerostars and the Doc B-29 Superfortress.

Canadian CF-18 Hornet Demo Team:“The Canadian CF-18 Hornet is built by Boeing here St. Louis [also known as the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet],” said Paul Guse, director of marketing and public relations for the Spirit of St. Louis Air Show & STEM Expo. “That aircraft is celebrating its 40th anniversary, so we have a large number of F/A-18s coming in to the Air Show that will be on static display so people can come up to them, get close and see them. And a CF-18 from the Royal Canadian Air Force will put on a flying display.”

The Royal Canadian Air Force’s CF-18
[Photo credit: Canadian Forces CF-18 Demo Team Facebook page]

In honor of the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the Spirit of St. Louis Air Show & STEM Expo announced the event will be held both in 2018 and 2019, with the US Navy Blue Angels and their F/A-18s headlining the 2019 event.

“2018 will kick off two years of Air Shows in St. Louis, celebrating these made-in-St. Louis aircraft, while also thrilling attendees with phenomenal performances from other historic and modern aircraft,” said John Bales, president of the Spirit of St. Louis Air Show committee and Spirit of St. Louis Airport director.

USAF F-16 Viper Demo Team:“The F-16 is one of the United States Air Force’s front-line fighter jets,” Guse explained. “The F-16 puts on a really exciting demonstration showing the capabilities of that fighter jet. Similar to the Hornet, it will put on a really loud, fast-moving, dynamic, aerial demonstration.”

Phillips 66 Aerostars [Four-ship Extra 300Ls]:“The Aerostars are four small, highly acrobatic, single-engine aircraft flown by civilians,” Guse said. “They fly in a four-aircraft formation and put on an incredible show.”

The Phillips 66 Aerostars have been performing together, side by side, just a few feet from one another, at around 250 miles per hour, for more than a decade. Flying their new Extra 300L aircraft, the four-ship team performs breathtaking barrel rolls, graceful formation loops and dramatic opposing maneuvers.

Doc B-29 Superfortress:“Doc is one of only two flying B-29s, and this is the first time Doc has been here in St. Louis,” Guse said. “Doc was very instrumental in World War II. It was the bomber that dropped the Atomic Bomb on Japan.

Though Doc played a big role in World War II, the plane was abandoned in Mojave Desert until it was recovered in 1987. Since then, the historic warbird has been restored to flying status and serves as a “flying museum,” as the plane’s website b29doc.com puts it. In 2016, Doc’s restoration was complete and it took flight again.

Doc will be on static display for attendees to get an up-close look at the plane with a storied and heroic past. And some civilians will get the chance to take a flight on Doc outside the regular Air Show hours – an activity that requires advance registration on the Air Show’s website.

Honoring heroes:In addition to the impressive headliners, the Air Show will feature a special aerial salute to United States heroes. The U.S. Air Force F-16 Viper Demo Team has put together a heritage flight that will include other World War II fighters as a way to honor our nation’s veterans who have sacrificed so much.

Other performers:Skip Stewart Airshows, Susan Dacy & Big Red in the Boeing Super Stearman, B-25 Mitchell CAF MO Wing, TBM Avenger CAF MO Wing, P-38 Lightning flown by Kevin Eldridge, SB2C Helldiver CAF West Texas Wing, A-4B Skyhawk flown by Paul Wood, Doulgas A1-E Skyraider, Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, Vought-AU1 Corshair, NA P-51 Mustang Sweet Revenge, NA P-51 Mustang Moombeam McSwine, Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, North American AT-6 Texan and Aeronica L-3.

Skip Stewart Airshows

Entertainment:

Immediately after the Air Show performances conclude on Saturday afternoon, Contagious will take the stage for a concert from 3-5 p.m.

Contagious has become one of the most sought-after groups in the Midwest. The five-man group is a well-known cover band bringing a crafty mix of polished pop-rock and classic-rock hits to its high-energy performances. The band covers songs from current artists like Bruno Mars, Black Eyed Peas and Robin Thicke, while also performing classic hits from Journey, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Styx, Boston and more.

Essay contest:

As part of an essay contest, four teenagers passionate about aeronautics will have the chance to fly with the Phillips 66 Aerostars Saturday morning before the Air Show. The contest asked teens to write a brief essay about a personal memory, future career goal, or how aviation has impacted St. Louis and the world around them, and why this inspires them.

“20 finalists from those entries will be invited to attend the Performers Reception that the Air Show sponsors on the Friday night before the air show,” Guse said. “That night, the Aerostars’ pilots will announce four winners out of those finalists to fly with the team Saturday morning before the Air Show.”

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