Aviation Week Flies with the Phillips 66 Aerostars
While covering the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture airshow for Aviation Week this year, I was presented with a unique opportunity that I couldn’t pass up: the chance to ride along for my first aerobatic flight.
The opportunity came courtesy of the Phillips 66 Aerostars, a team which has been performing aerobatic flights together for approximately five years now with its current pilot lineup. The team is comprised of Harvey “Boss” Meek, Paul “Rocket” Hornick and Gerry “Fossil” Molidor, who have been collectively flying for more than 100 years.
I rode along with Meek, Phillips 66 Aerostars team lead, in his Extra 300L aircraft. During the flight, which took place at the Platinum Flight Center FBO in Appleton, Wisconsin, the team performed loops, rolls and various formation flying maneuvers. You can watch my experience in the video below.
According to Meek, 300L aircraft are perfect for aerobatic maneuvers because “they have a lot of horsepower, they’re lightweight and the wing design makes it such that they like to go upside down—or upside right, as we call it.” The aircraft are powered by Lycoming engines and the Phillips 66 Aerostars fly them at around 250 mph during their performances.
Meek says the team does much of its own work keeping the aircraft flight-ready. “The airplanes sit in our own hangars and we look them over after every show,” he says. This includes handling many smaller maintenance tasks, such as oil changes every 25 hours using Phillips 66 Victory aviation oil.
The Phillips 66 Aerostars were on site at EAA AirVenture this year to promote a new scholarship being launched in partnership with the I Hart Flying Foundation. Phillips 66 says the “Fueling Flight Through Harts of Might” scholarship, which launches Aug. 2, is its largest yet and will help get more women into flight careers.