Chapter 61

Salem, Illinois


Betty Stewart


Betty Stewart, a lifetime chapter 61 member, was a member of the 1976, 1980 and 1982 United States aerobatic teams. She is honored as the first person to win the world champion title at two consecutive world events. In 1980, she won three individual gold medals and the title Women's World Aerobatic Champion. In 1982, she repeated this feat winning the title, another three individual golds, and the silver team medal.  She was inducted into the International Aerobatic Club Hall of Fame in 2004 and is currently a national judge.


John Housley


John Housley is the current IAC Chapter 61 President, Treasurer, and webmaster.  As a retired aeronautical engineer, John is spending time providing aerobatic instruction while also supporting the Humane Society of Missouri's education program.  John is a regional judge as well as A&P with IA and served as the Contest Director for the 2021 & 2022 Giles Henderson Memorial Challenge. (Aircraft photo courtesy of The Aero Experience)


Sean Sweeney


Sean Sweeney is a highly successful business owner and our chapter Vice President.  Sean has experience in a variety of aerobatic (and corporate) aircraft and currently flies an immaculate Staudacher S-300 and a Provost.   Sean is a flight/ground instructor and has obtained FAA approval for two (2) aerobatic practice areas: one at his home airport (KUNO) and the other at Baxter County (KBPK).  Sean currently competes in the Sportsman category in his Staudacher and is also an IAC regional judge. (Aircraft photo courtesy The Aero Experience)


Cleta Sweeney


Cleta Sweeney is our chapter Secretary and a member of our Board of Directors. Although she is not an aerobatic pilot, Cleta is highly engaged in many of our chapter activities.  Married to Sean Sweeney, our chapter Vice President, Cleta has been instrumental in securing sponsorship for practice day events, completed her regional judge training and exam, and was the Volunteer Coordinator and Safety/Medical Director during our annual aerobatic contest.  Cleta is also a Community Service Project Leader, assisting 4-H children with activities supporting our Veterans.


Martin Di Stefano


Martin is an aerospace engineer and a member of the Navy Reserve. His first aerobatic training was with John Housley in a Pitts S-2B, and he later trained in a Super D while living in Florida. He currently co-owns a beautifully unique Skybolt and plans to compete in the Sportsman category.


Bruce Ballew


Bruce Ballew is a corporate jet pilot and has served as chapter President, Contest Director, and a regional judge.   Bruce currently competes in the Advanced category in his beautiful Extra 300L and operates from Creve Coeur airport (1H0). (Aircraft photo courtesy The Aero Experience)


Dave Butler


Dave Butler is an orthopaedic surgeon, an AME, and a CFII.  He flies his Super Decathlon from C56 (Bult Field, southeast of Chicago) in the Sportsman category. (Aircraft photo courtesy of The Aero Experience)


Vinny Ferrari


Vinny is an accomplished business leader, instrument pilot, and aerobatic pilot.  He flies a pristine Extreme Decathlon from the Creve Coeur airport (1H0) in the Sportsman category.


Dennis McAlee


Dennis (Denny) McAlee is a retired airline pilot, flight instructor, master builder (Pitts, Skybolt, RV, etc.) and the Starter for our chapter contests. Denny is based at the Washington Memorial (FYG) airport. (Photo courtesy of The Aero Experience)


Bill "Crash" Layton


Bill flies a Pitts S-2A (once owned by the famed Bill Thomas) and has a lot of time in The World's Greatest Fighter (aka F-15). 


Tom Rhodes


Tom is the President of IAC 24 in Dallas, TX and flies a CAP 232 in competition.


Wesley Beigel


Wesley is a retired engineer and currently flies the iconic Pitts S-2A.  He also has experience in single place Pitts Specials.


Jordan Heuerman



Jordan Heureman is an airline captain, operating out of Indianapolis.  He operates his beautiful Pitts S-1S out of Casey, Illinois (1H8).  Jordan was the highest scoring first-time Sportsman pilot at the 2023 Giles Henderson Memorial Challenge.

Clay Keithley


Clay Keithley is a private pilot and licensed mechanic/inspector.  Clay enjoys flying his beautiful Christen Eagle through graceful aerobatics and formation flights with other aerobatic aircraft. Clay operates from the Spirit of St. Louis airport (SUS).


Jonathan Adams


Jonathan is an aerospace engineer with experience on many different types of aircraft.  He flies a Decathlon and is building a Christen Eagle.

Julie Housley


Julie works at the Humane Society of Missouri in the Education department where children are taught to have kindness and respect for all living things.   She is the Scorekeeping Director and helps with the registration and other aspects of the annual contest in Salem, Illinois.

Jerry Spear


Jerry Spear is a two-time winner of the Pitts Aerobatic Trophy in the Advanced category for his first-place finishes at the 1978 and 1988 IAC Nationals competitions (Advanced category).  Jerry is also a retired airline captain and continues to support the Chapter 61 contest each year in numerous capacities.

Jeremy Cox


Jeremy is a certified senior aircraft appraiser and President of JetValues.   He is a licensed pilot and volunteers his support at our annual contest. 


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