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T6 flight

Posted By:
Giancarlo Riolfo
Warbirds of America Member
16
Posts
1
#1 Posted: 5/24/2011 10:42:16 Modified: 5/24/2011 10:44:14

Private flying WW2 warbirds are very popular in the US, but not in Italy. A few planes are on exhibit in museums, but talking about flying machines there are just a few observation planes like L4 and L5 (the Sentinel was largely used in flying clubs 'cause many L5s have been given to our country after the war). Also the T6 was largely used for decades by Italian Air Force, but now there is just a couple of T6s flying. One - a 1943 built ex RAF Harvard - was bought by three guys living in North-West Italy. One of them is a friend of mine, so I recently had the opportunity of flying this big beautiful plane. Very easy in midair, extremly difficult in landings. I wrote a long article for the May issue of the leading Italian aviation magazine "Volare". Pictures were taken by a young guy. Here's his web site. Enjoy it!

 

http://guidobenedetto.blogspot.com/2011/02/airtoair.html

 

 

 



Tony Turiano
Vintage Aircraft Association Member
20
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1
#2 Posted: 6/16/2011 08:55:42
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Bill Greenwood
Warbirds of America MemberYoung Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
121
Posts
24
#3 Posted: 6/19/2011 21:40:36

Tony, in what way did you find it extremely difficult in landings? What had you flown before and what is your runway like? 

Good luck, wish you had more gen av airplanes.



Giancarlo Riolfo
Warbirds of America Member
16
Posts
1
#4 Posted: 6/20/2011 03:33:35

Bill, can you read Tony's post? I can just read an error message.



Bill Greenwood
Warbirds of America MemberYoung Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
121
Posts
24
#5 Posted: 6/20/2011 07:07:12

Giancarlo, when I wrote the post above I meant it for you , mot for Tony.

So read it as for yourself.

I tried to edit and change the name and this site won't work for that.

I can't see what Tony meant to write, only the error message.



Giancarlo Riolfo
Warbirds of America Member
16
Posts
1
#6 Posted: 6/20/2011 07:38:02

Well, I use to fly a light three wheeler (registrated in Italy as a VDS plane, something like your LSA but with no RG or VPP restrictions). I have a very limited experience with taildraggers and always flying with an instructor. I could fly the T6 airborne, but I was not allowed to use stick and rudder in takeoff and landing. My pilot was a former military pilot with several thousands hours in his logbook. He told me that this plane is a bit tricky. More than other T6s ("if you can land a T6 you can land everything" 'cause original flaps had been modified when the plane was used as a camera ship at RAF experimental center in Boscombe Down to be used as dive brakes (a plenty of holes in them). Vref must be many knots higher and - so I'd been told - landings are more difficult. What I can say is that just after landing the tail started skidding and the pilot had to work a bit to keep the plane on the runway (about 3,500ft long, macadam).

In the air I found the T6 very easy. An obbedient plane. The only difficulty I had was the lack of visibility in the front. Very good at the sides, but extremly poor at 12 'o clock.



Bill Greenwood
Warbirds of America MemberYoung Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
121
Posts
24
#7 Posted: 6/20/2011 11:05:20

G R, 

Well here goes.

3500 feet is plenty long for a normal T6. I landed one on 1800 feet runway when I was learning with John Hess in Texas. Grass, if smooth makes the rollout easier, but hard surface is fine too.

I never heard of a T6 whose flaps were modified like that. One of the things that help a T6 land is the effective flaps. I do>n't know how much you lose with the holes in them. If it was my plane I'd probably try to get some stock flaps and have them installed. There is a place in Dallas, Tx that may have T6 flaps, can't recall the name now.

I assume that you have a T6 pilot manual. If not get one. Here in the U S it would be illegal to fly the plane if you did not have the manual or pilot notes in the plane.

Look up the section on stall speeds. Pick the one that is for your planes weight as you are flying it. The lighter weight gives a lower stall speed. Pick the one for power off, gear and full flaps down. It will likely be around 60 mph, within about 5 mph. 

Then fly the plane and have the pilot do the stall, and see what you indicated speed is . This way you can know whether the modification to the flaps really affects stall speed. Let's say it stalls at 62 mph. multiply this by 130% or by 1.3 and you have the speed you want for short final approach. You can be faster on downwind, but coming to the end of the runway, 1.3 is best. That would be 80 mph, with gear and full flaps down, and power off by the time you are at the flare. DON'T BE WAY TOO FAST, and use full flaps. At 10 feet above the ground slowly level off and as the plane gets to 1 foot above the runway you should be nose up slightly, (like the plane sits on the ground) and slowing near stall speed and just about hovering, very little descent left. I prefer to touch on al 3 wheels at the same time, (3 point) but it can be on the mains first. DON'T try to force the plane down on the main wheels if still too fast, don't push the nose down below level. You want to have almost all the vertical descent speed used up and most of the extra airspeed used up when the wheels touch. A T6 seems to be able to wheel land about as well a 3 point if done correctly. I prefer 3 point , that is how the RAF and our Army airforce taught to land the fighters, but it would be good to know both. 

When I last flew a T6 it was actually a Harvard. I had never flown a Harvard, the owner just said have a go in it. I was flying a fighter of his, so I guess he had some faith in me, and the $ amount at risk was less than $200k as opposed to $2million for the fighter. I used 70 knots at short final ( like 80 mph), full flaps and power off, for a 3 point landing, and turned off near the midpoint of a 2700 foot grass runway.

Make certain to have the plane lined up straight with the runway. If there is no crosswind you should not have that much problem with the tailwheel trying to move sideways. If there is a strong crosswind, don't fly that day. Use the rudders to keep the nose straight on rollout. If you really get off line you may need brake ONLY AFTER THE RUDDER. Try not to get in that situation.

It can be done, that you learn from scratch in a T-6. I know a man who did in the military. But it is much better to get a lot of tailwheel training in something else first. A Tiger Moth or Chipmunk or J3 Cub, are good.Get used to not being able to see straight out the front on the ground, and how the steering and rudders work.

Do a lot of taxi practice before you fly, especially in the T6. I prefer to start in the back seat of the T6 so you get used to the restricted forward visibility. 

It is a great airplane and a great warbird trainer. It is not a Cessna. 

A very good book to have is called TAIMING THE TAILDRAGGER. And you need a good teacher.

Good luck.

Bill




Giancarlo Riolfo
Warbirds of America Member
16
Posts
1
#8 Posted: 6/20/2011 15:50:40

Hi, Bill. I'm not a warbird pilot. This is the plane I have and I fly: http://www.groppo.it/eng_fleet_folder.html Three wheels, only 100 Hp and a cruising speed of 102 knots. Not a fighter, ok? And I'm not a fighter pilot.
Not even a test pilot! wink

I was flying the T6 to write an article for the Italian aviation magazine Volare about this plane and the three guys that are keeping her flying. The flaps acting like dive brakes makes this T6 unique. For many years this 1943 born crate, given to the RAF by the US Government under the land-lease act, was used in Boscombe Down to film loads dropped by planes. This is the reason of this modification. For this T6 the Vref (1.3 Vs0) is 85 knots. Higher than other T6s.

Anyway I'm a three wheels pilos. I like traildraggers because they look nice, but I fear them a bit. Two years ago I flew a Twinbeech: great plane in the air, very easy, but a nightmare on the ground. Even taxing was a big challenge for me.

Anyway, yes... I'd like to learn how to tame taildraggers. If I'm not too old. I'd like to try with a Cub, or the Savage. Or even with this little plane designed by the same guy who designed my own plane. This is it:  http://www.groppo.it/eng_fleet_trial.html

 Can go everywhere like a Jeep, but she handles like a Lotus. Look at this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UG0JWK9tKio&feature=related

 

 



Bill Greenwood
Warbirds of America MemberYoung Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
121
Posts
24
#9 Posted: 6/20/2011 20:32:57 Modified: 6/20/2011 20:59:33

G R, 

I don't fly a twin Beech, the D18, but thousands of people have and many still do. They regard it as a great plane, certainly not a nightmare. Olive Beech herself hosted us at the Beech factory in the 60s and said they were having a hard time selling the new tri gear nosewheel Queen Air because people did not want to give up their D18s.

You just have to learn how to fly them. Get lot's of taxi practice on the ground. And see a good video and read some books. 

And of course I don't know that Harvard, but 85 knots is awfully fast for a T6 on final. When I flew the Harvard, I was 70 knots at the runway end, not out on dw or base, and that was just about right. I didn't need any more speed. If you fly with that pilot in that plane again, ask him to go up and show you a vso stall. I'd be surprised if it is above 65 k. 

The fighter I fly weighs more than a T6, has slightly shorter wings and smaller flaps and stalls at 62 K. If I went into the flare at 85 knots, it would float some ways. In a similar plane, a little lighter, I used 80mph at the runway end on a shorter runway.

When pilots talk about approach speeds, many times they are really talking about speed well out on final, not the speed gong into the flare. And some pilots, especially if they prefer wheel landings, may just get used to flying the approach faster than need be. 



Giancarlo Riolfo
Warbirds of America Member
16
Posts
1
#10 Posted: 6/21/2011 11:05:59

What plane do you fly, Bill?

As I told, I'm not an experienced pilot. I started flying seriously making my first solo a few days after I turned 50 and in these 4 1/2 years I'd been flying about 40 hours per year (lack of time, not lack of passion). For me taxing a big taildragger like the TwinBeech as I did a couple of years ago was somethig challenging (even starting the P&W radials was a bit more complicated than dealing with a Rotax 912S engine). In flight the C45 (as the T6) looked very very easy. And a real pleasure to fly.

Anyway I had just about 20 minutes of sticktime on the Harvard and my impressions are the impressions of a freshman. The article was not a flight test and I was not pretending to test the plane. I just told the story of this unique T6, of its restoration. And, yes, celebrating the passion of the three owners.

I hope I'll be able to fly (on) this ship againg. And it could be the occasion to gain a better knowledge of the T6. What else? Yes, I'll check in the article if 85 knots where the speed in final or flying the pattern. And, above of all, I really enjoied the NAA's "advanced trainer". Big and beautifull.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures.



Bill Greenwood
Warbirds of America MemberYoung Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
121
Posts
24
#11 Posted: 6/22/2011 15:15:00

G R, yes I liked your plane in the photo, looks like fun.

I moslty fly a Beech B36 TC, also Spit IX and XVI, and some T-6 and Harvard if if can borrow one.