Monthly Archives: May 2014

Countdown to Midwest Airport Fun Days: Warbirds Arrive at Museum

The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum has begun its “Countdown to Midwest Airport Fun Days” with the arrival of several warbirds that will be on static display during the June 7-8 event.  The St. Louis Downtown Airport community recently welcomed a Douglas DC-3 cargo aircraft and the rare Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon, “Attu Warrior,” to the Ideal Aviation ramp for pre-event festivities starting early next week.  More activities are planned for the coming week, so check the event web page for more updates.



St. Louis Aerospace Community Welcomes Legendary NASA Apollo Program Flight Director Gene Kranz

Members of the St. Louis aerospace community welcomed legendary NASA Apollo Program Flight Director Gene Kranz at a dinner reception this evening at the Moonrise Hotel in the Delmar Loop.  The dinner was held in honor of Gene Kranz and his wife Marta, and included guests Lowell and Bobette Grissom and representatives from the St. Louis Rocketry Association, St. Louis Science Center, St. Louis University parks College, St. Louis Space Frontier, St. Louis Challenger Learning Center, Missouri Space Grant Consortium, Missouri Coalition for Math and Science, Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum and the Bonne Terre Space Museum.  Gene Kranze will make appearances at several events to encourage students to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers, culminating with a public event this Saturday at the St. Louis Science Center.

NASA photo

Gene Kranz has past connections to the St. Louis area.  He obtained his aeronautical engineering degree from Parks College and worked on several projects for McDonnell Aircraft Corporation in the mid 1950s.  He joined NASA in 1960 in the Flight Control Operations Branch, and served in ever more responsible roles through the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab and Space Shuttle programs.  He is probably best known as the Lead Flight Director during the Apollo 13 mission, living up to the motto, ”Failure is not an Option,” and donning a white vest that has become a symbol of his role in the space race.  During tonight’s dinner reception, Gene Kranz was given a white vest with patches representing the sponsors of his visit to St. Louis this week.  The Aero Experience Founder Carmelo Turdo, representing his role on the Board of Directors of the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum, was one of the guests.  Here are some views of the festivities:

Gene Kranz (left) with David Kovar of the St. Louis Rocketry
Association and his wife Marta Kranz
Gene Kranz (left) with Joe Edwards, developer of the
Delmar Loop area of St. Louis


A donation to Gene Kranz’s favorite charity, Habitat for Humanity,
was presented during the dinner reception


David Kovar of the St. Louis Rocketry Association with his scale
model of the Apollo Saturn V rocket

Aerospace Community Mourns the Passing of McDonnell Douglas Engineer Les Eash

Lester E. Eash

Eash, Lester E. age 95, on Wednesday, April 16, 2014; preceded in death by his beloved wife of 57 years Daisy A. Eash, loving father of Susan (Roger) Stewart, Sally (Kent) McMillen, John (Marie) Eash, grandfather of 7, great-grandfather of 11, uncle, great-uncle, cousin and friend to all he met. Born in 1919 in Jet, OK, Les moved to Goshen, IN at age 4. It was during that time working on his father’s farm that he saw the Akron dirigible and became fascinated with aviation. After high school, he moved to Wichita, KS to live with his brother and attend Friends University. While in school, he worked for Stearman Aircraft (now Boeing) and Coleman Stove as a draftsman. After leaving school, he worked for several companies and eventually moved to St. Louis to work for Curtiss-Wright when he met Daisy. After marriage and closure of Curtiss-Wright, he and Daisy spent a short time in Toledo, OH working for WillysOverland and then returned to St. Louis for a job opportunity at McDonnell Aircraft Co. in 1945. Les worked on various aircraft programs at McDonnell Aircraft including the Banshee, Voodoo, and Phantom. One of his most memorable assignments was the designer and operator of the trapeze mechanism for the XF-85 Goblin parasite strike fighter that was designed to be carried in the bomb bay of a B-29 bomber. His last assignment at then McDonnell Douglas was Project Engineer for the DC-10 wing subsystems. This assignment led to a transfer to the Douglas Co. location in Long Beach, CA in 1976. After retirement from McDonnell Douglas in 1978, he went to work for Parker Hannifan as a Program Manager and then fully retired in 1980. While in California, he received a patent for the Champopper, a device used to open and retain the cork from a champaign bottle. He and Daisy returned to St. Louis in 1987 to enjoy time with family and friends. Les enjoyed singing in his church choirs and barbershop choruses, bowling, golf, Dixieland jazz music, returning to Indiana for High School Reunions, leading volunteer groups and spending time with family and friends. Let his faith, friendship and rolling with the punches philosophy be an inspiration for us all. Services: Please join the family in celebrating Lester’s life by attending a memorial service at St. John’s United Church of Christ in St. Charles, MO on Friday, 9 May at 7:00 p.m. Lester donated his remains to the Washington University School of Medicine. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Johns United Church of Christ Music Program in his memory.
Published in St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Apr. 22, 2014

Mr. Eash participated in programs recognizing his work on the McDonnell Aircraft XF-85 Goblin parasite fighter test program sponsored by the Greater St. Louis Air and Space Museum and the Missouri Aviation Historical Society.  We encourage you to re-visit these stories featuring Mr. Eash:

Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum

The Aero Experience

Museum Brings F-4 Cockpit to Gateway Harley-Davidson USO Fundraiser

The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum brought the F-4 cockpit to the USO fundraising event, Gypsy Rendezvous, Saturday at Gateway Harley-Davidson in South St. Louis County.  Gateway Harley-Davidson sponsors monthly USO fundraisers to serve our veterans, and donated the motorcycle that was refurbished by Jet Aviation at St. Louis Downtown Airport for Army Specialist Chad Hembree, who will be a special guest at the upcoming Midwest Airport Fun Days event.  We thank Gateway Harley-Davidson for their hospitality, and look forward to working with them on future events.