Mark Awad chats with AWAL's newest Trojan pilot
Australia’s warbird community is a diverse group;
we’re made up of men and women from all walks of
life and are a reflection of our country’s modern multi
cultural society. However, like all aviation sectors,
our demographics are skewed towards middle-aged
and older individuals. With the myriad costs
associated with owning and operating a plane
(not to mention the expense of flight training!) it’s no
wonder that younger generations are finding it harder
and harder to pursue apassion for flight.
For that reason, I find it very encouraging to see
several examples of a love for aviation and warbirds
in particular being passed on from parents to
their children. Chris Robinson of Perth, has been
exposed to general aviation through his dad Steve,
which has led him to the front seat of their
family’s newly purchased North American T-28B
Trojan. Steve Robinson’s work demands have
for years necessitated traveling quite a bit across
western Australia from his home base in Perth.
He discovered early that general aviation offered
numerous advantages over the airlines or driving
and that flying was something he loved to do. It was
natural that his young son found himself in the
right seat tagging along as often as he could.
In 2008, Chris began flight training and earned his
PPL in January 2009. From that time, he’s not looked back, gaining experience in numerous aircraft
including TB10, Aerostar, Cirrus, Queenair, Robin and various Cessnas. His initial exposure to warbirds
came in the form of the much loved Nanchang CJ-6. With each flight, Chris’ appreciation and love for
aviation grew as well. He began to seek out other opportunities to fly, even just as a passenger.
Photograph © Glenn Alderton / Warbirdz.net.au
Huff'n'Puff T-28D Trojan VH-TRO is a genuine combat veteran. It was built by North American Aviation in 1951 for the USAF. In 1964 it was seconded to the CIA funded airline Air America for clandestine operations in Laos.
VH-ZUK Mekong Moon in lead formation. Photograph by Nathan Bowtell
After the Vietnam War finished the aircraft was delivered to the Royal Thai Airforce where it was used for counter insurgency activities on the Thai - Laos border. In 1976 it was sold to the Philippines Airforce where it operated with the P.A.F. 1st Strike Wing based at Sangley Point. It was one of several T-28Ds used in the attack and failed coup attempt on President Marcos presidential palace. It was then brought to Australia in 1990 where it has been totally restored over a 12 year period and first flown again on 5th October 2001 by Kim Rolph-Smith.
Video posted by Planesounds with the warning, "If you are not a lover of the T28, it may be wisest if you leave now" editors note: If you've found yourself at this point, it's too late, you've been bitten by the T-28 bug! Turn up the volume and enjoy the sound of the T-28 powered by a 9 cylinder radial engine.
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