Acrobatic planes come to St Louis with their fancy flying and their modified aircraft.
Fair St Louis is coming on July 2. It features an air show amongst music entertainers and such. With the absence of the Chesterfield air show, which this examiner sorely misses, the air show at the Fair is about the only one in the summer for St Louis. As always the air show will have both military and civilian planes doing acrobats. Among the acrobatic civilian teams that do not feature military aircraft, we have two significant categories, the biplane and the monoplane.
The civilian teams that feature military aircraft are great and have planes from World War II (WWII). Those are mono planes. They were built for dog fighting and so acrobatics were in their nature. They are heavy and fuel inefficient as they are sturdy and powerful.
Since WWII, small civilian acrobatic planes were built and featured in air shows around the country. These were mostly biplanes, that is have a set of wings above the fuselage and a set of wings below the fuselage. Why was this? The answer is the same reason that early planes such as in World War I era were biplanes, structural integrity. A biplane configuration gives more strength to the main wing portion than a monoplane (single set of wings) does. Later, some other structural design techniques allowed strength in the monoplane’s main wings. The biplane’s wings resemble a structural beam to create stiffness.
Monoplanes showed up in the aerodynamics department more and more with the advent of carbon composites. Carbon composites form structure that are very stiff and very light weight. It’s a perfect material for airplanes. A company called Scaled Composites promoted composite construction of aircraft with their kit planes, research planes, government contracts, and the first civilian space ship, SpaceShipOne.
Often teams will modify their planes to get better performance for their stunts. Team Read Eagles modified the wings of their Talon Eagles to get better rolls, according to their website. When the planes do their acrobatics, the art is not only in their flying but also their engineering and ingenuity.
Greg Poe is one of the acrobatic participants in the air show sporting all composite mono planes. His planes have heavily modified engines that burn ethanol. His Fagen MXS and MX2 pull impressive 16 Gs and have a roll rate of 420 degrees per second. Great numbers for an environment friendly dare devil.
Its a great line up for the air show and should be impressive to watch.
Enjoy the fair and the air show.
AirShow line up
Red Eagle Air Sports
Pitts Special Biplane family wiki
Aviat Eagle II wiki