Pursuing My Need for Speed: The Spirit of St. Louis Air Show and STEM Expo, St. Louis, MO

Words and photos by Duane Clawson
A couple of years ago I attended my first air show and I’ve been hooked ever since! Plus, an air show takes my need for speed to a whole new level! This year’s air show featured the return of the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels and a first ever visit by the Royal Air Force Red Arrows! The St. Louis Air Show was very fortunate, as the Red Arrows were only performing at six venues in North America.

This two-day event at the Spirit of St. Louis airport in Chesterfiel, Missouri also featured demonstrations by the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team and the Black Daggers Parachute Team. Always a fan favorite, Skip Stewart flies just inches above the runway, splitting ribbons with his wing tips! If you were into vintage aircraft, they were plentiful, both on the ground and in the skies. On the ground, you could find many displays to designed attract the younger crowd’s interest in science, technology, engineering, and math.

My need for speed was satisfied early in the afternoon as the EA-18 Growler fighter jet made a blistering pass over the sold out air show crowd! How fast you say? The aircraft was nearly a mile away before you heard the roar of its two General Electric F414-GE-400 engines! Thinking foolishly that nothing could surpass the EA-18, I was blown away an hour later by the F-22 Raptor! The F-22, built by Lockheed Martin from 1996 – 2011, is a $150 million flying marvel! Aerial swiftness combined with stealth technology and the ability to hit speeds of mach two, make the F-22 one badass piece of machinery!

The U.S. Navy Blues Angels close out a hot, early September day at the air show. The Blues Angels have flown as a flight exhibition team since 1946. The Blue Angels only select the best of the best to fly their F/A 18 Hornet jets. To be the “Boss” of this team, one must have at least 3,000 tactical jet flight-hours and have commanded a tactical jet squadron. Flying as close as 18 inches apart, there is little room for error! Captain Eric Doyle leads the team flawlessly through Diamond barrel rolls and the world famous Diamond Loop. These two maneuvers have been performed since 1947! If you haven’t been to an air show, I highly recommend doing so.  Chances are, you’ll love it!  Photos of the event are below:

Contributed by Duane Clawson
Pursuing My Need for Speed: The Spirit of St. Louis Air Show and STEM Expo, St. Louis, MO Pursuing My Need for Speed: The Spirit of St. Louis Air Show and STEM Expo, St. Louis, MO Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on September 15, 2019 Rating: 5
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