Things I have flown #2 – the North American T-6 Texan

8 Apr

So far this one has a number of firsts; first complex aircraft, first radial engine, first time piloting abroad, oldest aircraft flown, first aerobatics and more. The one I flew, N453WA  is owned by Warbird Adventures in Kissimmee, Florida and is painted in Army colours. I have it in my log book as an SNJ-6 which would make it a Navy version, but maybe that is what it is and it has been painted up as Army just to complete the set (they have Navy and Marines ones flying too).

I flew mine back on the 27th November 2002 and the flight was a birthday gift from the Berkshire Belle who took a book and sat patiently by the flight office while I went off to play in the skies over Lake County. My log book shows an 0900 take off from Kissimmee and a 45 minute flight in N453WA.

We took off heading north east and over Disney with the aim of finding our new villa South of Clermont. Working on the principle of finding US27 and turning south we found it easily and circled whilst John in the back seat took photos using the wingtip camera. After that we headed a mile or so west and did some aerobatics over the swamp before time was up.

It was a delight to fly, but I had to concentrate on not gaining height as the slightest back pressure on the control column saw us gaining altitude quickly. And that was with just one finger curled around the stick and a few seconds enjoying the view below was enough to gain 500 feet if I wasn’t careful.

There was also the humbling experience of working with a seasoned local pilot for as I called out “helicopter 10 o’clock crossing right to left about 1000 feet below”, John, a foot shorter than me and sat in the back responded “got it. And the 172 at 2 o’clock, the chopper at 9 o’clock (plus about 4 more) none of which I had picked up.

All too soon we were rolling back up to the hangar and into close down checks. I still have the memories and, somewhere, a VHS tape (must get that converted to DVD). A great morning.

I would recommend Warbirds to anyone and, if you’re in that part of Florida, also get down to Fantasy of Flight and spend a day there. If you want to fly a vintage aircraft they have a Stearman you can have a go in (unless you are just too big and heavy like me) that pre dates the T6 by 10 or so years, but they have a fantastic aviation attraction there with something for all the family and only about a 20 minute drive from the Disney area.

Check out the web sites at:

Warbird Adventures

Fantasy of Flight

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