T-28 Trojan Foundation

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Flying my most favorite airplane of all time, the T-28 - Marc Liebman, Naval Aviator and Author

You didn’t climb into or onto a T-28, you mounted it. It wasn’t a small trainer. Walking up from the front, the most noticeable thing was the huge, twelve foot diameter prop sitting in front of a nine cylinder radial engine.

click here for the rest of the article and link to his website and non-fiction series
Flying the T-28
by Jack Flanagan
The Last of the Big Time Radials
1973 article by Lt. Richard W. Clarke USN

The Mid-Air Collision  Story of David DeMeyer June 16, 1966
Tailhook Sea Stories


Naval flight training in 1966 was a very exciting and busy time. The Navy was pushing hard to get as many pilots trained as possible as the Viet Nam war was really heating up. In those days every flight student carrier qualified, even the Marines and Navy pilots that were destined to go into the helicopter pipeline, got the opportunity to “hit the boat,” in the T-2 Buckeye or the T-28 Trojan.

NAS Whiting Field was approximately 40 miles east of NAS Pensacola, and all the flight students that were in the prop pipe-line were sent there, before carrier qualifying. It was a very busy base with two airfields. I was attached to Training
Squadron Two (VT 2) at North Field. VT 3 was at South Field. I suppose there were around 250-300 hundred flight students going through various phases of training at any one time at both fields. Training flights were launched daily from 0500 hours into the wee hours of the night.

The morning of June 16, 1966 started early for me, as I was on the flight schedule board for a P-8 check ride with a Marine Corps Captain at 0600 hours in the morning, followed by a P-9 solo in the afternoon. I recall “acing” the check ride as I worked through the endless testing of emergency procedures, and performing my aerobatics with precision. I was very upbeat with my success and anxious to go out solo in the afternoon by myself.

I recall flying over to Santa Rosa Island to fine tune my loops and barrel rolls as the island was over 25 miles long and set up East to West. It was my favorite place to practice. I could easily check out my plane’s set-up, attitude and line-up over this island to see if the plane was falling off on one wing or another while inverted while performing all the required aerobatics and spins.

The landing pattern at Whiting Field was fairly straight forward compared to enduring the complicated three tiered pattern at NAS Saufley Field during Primary training in the T-34. We were landing to the West that afternoon, so I entered the pattern at 1,500’ over the center of the dual runway below. As I broke right in Fairdale #229, I reduced my power, pulled the speed break, and lowered the gear.

Before getting to the 180º, the tower announced that a plane somewhere back in the pattern had called in with an unsafe gear indication, and that a check pilot was being sent up to verify it. Also the “daily thunderstorms” were approaching, so everyone who was already in the pattern was instructed to clear the runway as soon as they landed. In the Whiting Field pattern the planes landed on alternate sides of the double-wide runway. Looking down over the situation; that meant the plane (Fairdale #236) that was a good distance ahead of me on the down-wind leg would be landing on the port side, and I would alternate and follow on the starboard side.

At the 180º I pulled back my power further to reduce air speed and started a right turn descent to line up on the right side for landing. My coordination and concentration was right on target to “grease it in.” [My regular instructor and I would always make bets on who could get the most imaginary 3rd wire landings. I was thinking I would win a bet with this landing, if I only had someone in the back seat].

Then, “BAM! I experienced a sudden jolt and the plane’s nose pitched up violently. I thought, “Christ, something has hit me!” Then in a flash I saw the inverted canopy of another T-28 with two white helmets in it, as if doing a barrel roll over me.

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We were coming down fast. We were at 1000 feet and not quite abeam. This would be a short final. I flew parade position on the right side of Dash Three in order to keep the grass strip in sight and to control his turn, flaps and landing gear. We came off the abeam at 700 feet. I started him turning immediately. "Dash Three start a twenty degree bank left turn. Keep your attitude and speed." Coming through the 90 degree position we were 400 feet and looking good. The field appeared to have grass a foot deep. A small piper landed in front of us and took off on a touch and go.
"Chase, where are we landing? Will I be dropping the wheels?" We were turning to the final approach.
"Start rolling out now. Extend one half flaps. Roll wings level." We would cross the barbed wire fence about twenty feet above the ground. "Drop your wheels. Put your gear lever to the down position. Trim in some back pressure." The wheels came down and locked. "Now Flare the aircraft. Raise the nose to hit main mounts first. That’s it. Great job. Now get on the brakes!" I flew past his aircraft rocking my wings. There was a small wooden building about 100 feet left of the landing area. A small aircraft was parked near the building. "Three, relax and hang around the airport. Someone will call and tell you how to get back to Whiting. Semper Fi."
My two remaining students were clearly visible overhead Fitzgerald in a port orbit. I dropped in behind them, checked their prop rotations and called on Guard channel, "Mofak flight go tactical."
"Mofak Lead is up."
"Twoooop!" Dash two was up.
"Roger flight. Change the destination to Hunter Air Force Base, Savannah." We’ll get on the deck as soon as possible to assist VT-3 in recovery of the T-28 and the Stud. Then we can teach the Air Force how to arm wrestle and drink flaming hooks."  For the complete story:  Mofak.com

Dead Stick Landing, Fitzgerald, GA

Donald Cathcart LtCol USMC Ret
When the military retires an aircraft its future destination is more than likely the scrap yard. Unfortunate, but true.   As a young U.S. Navy Ensign, Dave Powers was assigned to fly a North American T-28B Trojan on what was thought to be it's last flight – from NAS Corpus Christi, Texas to the boneyard at Davis Monthan AFB, Tucson, Arizona.  This particular Trojan managed to escape the scrapper’s torch and is still flying today.  This is Dave's story of BuNo 138242:
A Trojan Story
by Dave Powers
Log Book Magazine
It seems almost surreal as I sat in a cockpit that I had last sat in over 23 years, watching the blades of the big Hamilton Standard propeller turn slowly around.  They say that the sense of  smell has a powerful memory, and when that Wright Cyclone R-1820 engine finally barked to life the accompanying cloud of smoke had a vaguely familiar aroma.    click here to purchase back issue Volume 10, Number 1 - 1st Quarter 2010

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