11 September 2019

2019 Spirit of St. Louis Air Show

Saturday morning (7 September), I drove to Spirit of St. Louis Airport (https://www.spiritairport.com/) in Chesterfield, Missouri for the Spirit of St. Louis Air Show & STEM Expo (http://spirit-airshow.com/). I had bought my ticket online just over two months before. After finding a parking spot and walking through the entrance (with a security search of my camera and utility bags), I made my way to the Sky Soldiers area where the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation (https://armyav.org/) had Vietnam War-era helicopters available for rides. I signed up to ride a Bell UH-1H Iroquois "Huey," the classic transport helicopter of the Vietnam War. After signing a waiver and paying my fee, I was grouped with nine other passengers. We were brought out to the helicopter, lead to our seats, and fastened for our ride.

It was about an eight minute flight, reaching just over 1000 feet (304.8 m) altitude and a speed of approximately 100 mph (161 kmh). The Huey took us across the Missouri River to nearby St. Peters, before flying back to Spirit Airport. This was my first ever flight in a helicopter and it was a great thrill.

We arrived safely after our ride, most happy from the experience.

After that, I browsed among the aircraft on static display, which ranged from current military and civil aircraft to vintage warbirds.

I also stopped by some booths, including one by the Missouri Aviation Historical Society (https://moavhist.org/).

I also took in the flying displays by various aircraft. These included the first-ever St. Louis area display by the Royal Air Force Red Arrows (https://www.raf.mod.uk/display-teams/red-arrows/), and the US Navy Blue Angels (https://www.blueangels.navy.mil/). Both put on very impressive shows.

After the Blue Angels' performance, I started to walk to my car. After a long time stuck in traffic, I finally departed from the airport and headed to World Wide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton for that night's Saint Louis FC match. (I wrote about that match in my previous post.) A great day, overall.


08 September 2019

Big Week for Saint Louis FC

One week ago (1 September) saw the start of a big stretch of three matches at home for Saint Louis FC (https://www.saintlouisfc.com/). That night, Saint Louis hosted Hartford Athletic. I joined in the St. Louligans (http://stlouligans.com/) tailgate before the match and matched into West Community Stadium with them.

It was a closely fought match, but Saint Louis ran out 3-2 winners. We supporters were happy, and--after a brief fireworks display for the Labor Day weekend--the players serenaded us.

Three nights later (4 September) was in town for a match rescheduled from last May, due to flood threat to the World Wide Technology Soccer Park at the time. The home side avenged a 2-1 defeat in Ottawa the month before with a 1-0 win. This followed an abbreviated tailgate. I bought my dinner--featuring a pulled pork sandwich and potato chips--from the Sugarfire Smokehouse (https://sugarfiresmokehouse.com/) tent at West Community Stadium.

After the win, it was another serenade by the players for the St. Louligans.

Last night (7 September), I arrived at the tailgate from the Spirit of St. Louis Air Show. I was able to get a beer and a dinner after standing in line to pose with the Stanley Cup (https://www.hhof.com/htmlSilverware/silver_splashstanleycup.shtml). I posed for a picture, which I should be able to download in the next day or two. The St. Louis Blues (https://www.nhl.com/blues/) won the cup in June, and it's been on a world tour since. Jim Kavanaugh, Saint Louis FC's Chief Executive Officer, is also a minority owner of the Blues. What a treat to have the Stanley Cup at this match against Nashville SC. (Thanks to Mitch Maurice for the photo of me with the Stanley Cup.)

It was a closely fought match, but Saint Louis scored late to earn a 1-0 win. The home side was now back in the race for a playoff spot, just a few points out of the last postseason position. Sing when you're winning.

After the match, I met USA soccer legend Alexi Lalas, who attended the match and hung out with the St. Louligans.