Giles Henderson Memorial Challenge at SLO

The annual Chapter 61 aerobatic contest at Salem, Illinois is the longest continuously running contest in IAC history.  The first contest was held in 1976.  This year (2018) was the 43rd time the event has been held!  The dates for next year's event are TBD May/June, 2019.  Registration and practice will take place on Friday, TBD May/June.  All power categories will be flown.  We plan to fly two flights in each category on Saturday and the final flight in each category on Sunday.  Normally, the first flight is the Known, the second the Free, and the third the Unknown.  However; the schedule may be adjusted depending on weather. 

Salem Airport and Box

The Salem box is perfectly located just north of the airport, with the airport's only runway nearly exactly on the box centerline.  Highway 57 to the west provides a reference that is impossible to miss and the section lines make heading changes and vertical rolls easy.  There is ample hangar space for all aircraft and hotels are just a 5 minute drive south to the town of Salem.  There is very little activity on the field and our Chapter's own Kevin Kegin and Cookie Smith are based on the field, so we have  friends/allies on-site.  The town supports our contest as well. 

2019 Planning Information

Next year we will include Primary through Unlimited power categories.  Spectators and especially children are welcome at no charge.  Registration and practice will be Friday, TBD May/June, starting at 10:00.  The contest will begin with a 7:30 briefing on Saturday, TBD May/June and conclude by noon on Sunday TBD May/June.  The banquet will be held Saturday evening at the Elk's Lodge (315 N Broadway Ave, Salem, IL 62881).

Lodging and Transportation:

Each of these hotels is conveniently located near the airport and within walking distance to local restaurants.

Quality Inn & Suites: 618-548-2177

Super 8: 618-548-5882

Guest House Inn:  618-548-4212

Holiday Inn Express:  618-740-0913 

Chapter members will provide shuttle service between the hotels and airport.

Entry fees for competitors (includes banquet):

Primary:  $100

Sportsman – Unlimited:  $130

Hangar: $10/night per aircraft

Additional banquet tickets: $20

2018 Contest Results

We had an excellent event between 8 and 10 June, with 22 pilots competing.  Rain showers on Saturday forced the cancellation of the Free flight program after the Known had been flown.  The contest concluded on Sunday with the Unknown flight.  

The University of North Dakota filled 2 Cessna 172s and their Super Decathlon with 8 pilots who flew well in both Primary and Sportsman categories.  Their team, coached by Mike Lents who is a member of the 2018 Advanced US Team, is shown below:


Front row: Elizabeth Birch, Torin Walhood, Mitchel Oswald, James Jacobson

Back row: Mike Lents (Team Coach), Alex Hunt, Jarrett Croy, Andrew Hollingsworth, Jacob Githens 

(The Aero Experience photo) 

Carmelo Turdo, of The Aero Experience, covered our event and you can see his excellent photos and story at Giles Henderson Memorial Challenge 2018.   Overall results and photos follow:


Primary (2018)


Torin Walhood and Andrew Hollingsworth from UND took first and second place respectively flying Super Decathlon N317JR (The Aero Experience photo).


 John Strong, finished in third place flying a beautiful orange and yellow Super Decathlon. 

Sportsman (2018)

This was one of the tightest Sportsman categories ever flown at our contest.  First and second place were separated by only .01 percentage points, and the separation between 1st and 8th was 2.23 percentage points.  This shows how important accurate, detailed judging can be.   


UND team members Elizabeth Birch, Jarret Croy, James Jacobson, Mitchell Oswald, Jacob Githens, and Alex Hunt took 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th place respectively flying their Super Decathlon painted in school colors of green and black. (The Aero Experience photo)  Elizabeth Birch also took home the top scoring first time Sportsman award as well as the Grass Roots medallion


Bob Hamilton finished 4th in Sportsman flying his Pitts S-1C.

Dave Schmitz finished 8th flying his FedEx colors RV-8. (The Aero Experience photo).


 Karl Icenogle finished 9th flying his clean red and white Pitts S-2B. 

Intermediate (2018)



 Cameron Grossl flew his immaculate Christen Eagle II to a first place finish in Intermediate.


 Justin Hickson finished second in Intermediate flying a sharp yellow and black Pitts S-2B.



Bruce Ballew flew his brand-new looking red and silver Extra 300L to a third place finish in Intermediate (The Aero Experience photo). 

 Cory Johnson claimed fourth place in Intermediate with his white and red Pitts S-1C.



 David Underwood flew his beautiful orange and blue Extra 200 to a fifth place finish in Intermediate.



 Wayne Buescher flew his hot rod Staudacher S-600F to a sixth place finish in Intemediate.


Doug Bartlett was flying his Sukhoi Su-29 very well and was in medal (plaque) contention after the Known flight, but was unable to complete the Unknown flight due to other commitments.  Losing an entire flight of points is tough to overcome and Doug finished 7th in the Intermediate category. 


Advanced (2018)



Steve Johnson flew clean programs in his MX2 in both the Known and Unknown flights and took first place in Advanced (The Aero Experience photo).


John Housley flew his patriotic Pitts S-2C to a second place finish in Advanced, a close 5.63 percent behind Steve (The Aero Experience photo).


Unlimited (2018)



Steve Grohsmeyer was our only competitor in the Unlimited category and as a true gentleman, flew HC rather than spoiling a lower category by dropping down.  He flew the demanding profiles extremely well. 

2017 Contest Results

We had a relatively low turnout in 2017, with only 9 pilots competing.  Bruce Ballew's plane (PItts S-2B) was out for repairs and Jason Noll generously allowed Bruce to fly his S-2B in Primary, thus enabling a competition in this category with Giles Henderson flying his clipped wing Cub.  We did not have the requisite two (2) planes to make an Intermediate category, and only one (1) plane in Unlimited, who flew hors concours. Although the turnout was light, we had a great time and wonderful weather.   Results and photos follow:

Primary (2017)


Bruce Ballew took first place in Primary flying Jason Noll's Pitts S-2B.  


Giles Henderson scored less than 5 percent behind Bruce to claim second place in Primary while flying his clipped wing Cub.


Sportsman (2017)


Jason Noll won first place in Sportsman while flying his red and white Pitts S-2B. 



 Robert Hamilton finished second in Sportsman while flying his Pitts S-1C.


Karl Icenogle took home third place in Sportsman flying his PItts S-2B.


David Schmitz flew his RV8 very well and finished in a close fourth place. 


Advanced (2017)


Gerry Molidor, the IAC Mid America regional Director, flew his beautiful Sukhoi 29 to a first place finish in Advanced.


John Housley won the Unknown flight, however, it was not enough to move him past Gerry who won both the Known and Free flights.  John's overall finish was second place in Advanced. 


Unlimited (2017)


Steve Grohsmeyer flew his MX impressively in unlimited hors concours (outside of contest) for a practice.


Contest Results (2016) 

We had some weather issues in 2016 that prevented us from flying our normal three flights per category.  We were only able to complete 2 rounds of flights and most of these occurred on Sunday.  Even though rain and low ceilings prevented the original plan from being executed, everyone still had a great time and flew safely.   We were thrilled to have a first time competitor join us with a Citabria and fly very well.  Results and photos follow:

Primary (2016)

 Giles, the Master, flew to a First place finish in his clipped wing Cub.


Tim Volk, of the St. Louis Flying Club, took Second place flying a beautiful Citabria. 


Sportsman (2016)

Robert Hamilton took home First place in Sportsman with his Pitts S-1C.


Jim Heinz finished Second with his Pitts S-2A.


Tom O'Neil flew his Cassutt to a Third place finish. 


Intermediate (2016)



 Matt Wild finished in First place in Intermediate flying his Extra 300.

Brent Smith finished Second in Intermediate flying his Pitts S-1S.


Basile Sanchez-Santacruz took Third place flying an awesome Pitts S-2B.


Contest Director Joe Overman maintained his cool and finished in Fourth place all the while dealing with command decisions!


Advanced (2016)

Mitch Wild took home the Gold with a First place finish in the Advanced category.


 Klaus Mueller finished Second in Advanced flying his powerful Yak-55M


Dave Scott, famous R/C Flight School owner/instructor, took home Third place flying a Pitts S-1S.


Bruce Ballew flew well and finished Fourth in Advanced with his Pitts S-2B.


John Housley finished Fifth in Advanced with his Pitts S-2B.


Mike Wild flew his beautiful red/white/gold Pitts S-2B to Sixth place in Advanced. 

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