Latest Flight in the T-6

by Dr. Lionel D. Alford, Jr.
21December 2011

Back in the air with the T-6. I flew two training flights today. I used my new call sign–Beech 123. I got the instrument stump the dummy flight. I used to do this with my students too. It’s the typical overload flight–it’s great training. I was ready to learn and learning was accomplished.

We took off out of Beech Field (BEC) on the 13th Street departure to get to Wichita Mid-continent (ICT) for an ILS 19L. This was new for me and required contact with Wichita approach. They treated us great today. We got the ILS and made a touch and go at ICT then coordinated for flight following and vectors toward Kingman (9K8). The trick was programming the Flight Management System (FMS) while flying and talking on the radios. The FMS system is pretty good, but has a few tricks that require learning.

We flew the VOR 17 at Kingman which is an arc to a straight-in course. The inbound course is about 20 degrees from the runway so it requires almost a circle to get in. We made a touch and go and headed out to Hutchinson (HUT) for a Localizer (LOC) Backcourse to 31. I set up the approach poorly and ended up with an impossible to fly situation. It worked out with a missed approach to fly the ILS to 13. Learning occurred.

After the ILS, we climbed up above 13,500 and completed a couple of spins. After I recovered, the Instructor Pilot (IP) simulated failing the engine, and I made a Simulated Flameout Pattern SFO into Newton (EWK). That worked out pretty cool. We cut back to the west and made a 13th Street arrival back to BEC for a couple of patterns. All in all, this was a busy flight. The aircraft flew great, as usually.

The second flight was an opportunity add on. We went out for area work: stalls and falls, instrument maneuvers practice, aerobatics, and unusual maneuvers. For aerobatics, I did an Immelman, a Cuban 8, a Lazy 8, a Chandelle, a split-S, and a Cloverleaf. Okay, I need more practice with aerobatics. I haven’t practiced them in a long time.

After the airwork, we headed down to Ponca City (PNC) for approaches. The first approach was a VOR-A, which means it’s a circling approach. It’s also probably the longest approach I’ve ever flown–and I do mean long. I was going to make a touch and go, but there were a thousand birds on the end of the runway–I went around and set up for the RNAV (GPS) to runway 17. I flew this with a holding-in-lieu for the course reversal. This is also a long approach. When we were approaching the Visual Descent Point (VDP), I thought the IP would tell me I could see the field, he didn’t. He was watching for the birds. I went to the Missed Approach Point (MAP) and started the missed approach. We were getting low on gas, so we decided to head back to BEC.

The Return to Base (RTB) was uneventful. I got to see a new way to approach the east entry point. The excitement came during patterns. We had planned to practice an emergency gear extension, and we did. It works great on the plane. Then we shut down the engine using the Firewall Shutoff Handle. Also works great. I learned some great tricks about the FMS too.

I had an exciting day in an exciting aircraft. Sorry for all the technical terms–that’s aviation.