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Warbirds of New Smyrna Page 4

Once this project is airworthy it will become one of the rarest examples of a T-28 flying.  This is a T-28R-1 "Nomair" built by the Hamilton Aircraft Company of Tucson, AZ.  The Nomair was converted from a T-28A model re-engined with an R-1820 that powered All later model Trojans.  The Nomair saw service with both the Brazilian Navy and Air Force in the 1960's.  Other T-28 conversions include the Hamilton T-28R-2 Nomair which was marketed as a civilian transport with seating of up to five people.  It had an enclosed cabin and a side entry door.  Another is the T-28S and T28-F "Fennec" models which served as attack aircraft for the French during a bloody war with Algeria.  Another interesting conversion was the T-28D or AT-28D "Nomand" which served as a platform for close air support, counterinsurgency, reconnaissance, search and rescue, and as forward air controllers during the Vietnam War.  During some of these roles it flew in support of the CIA by the Air America pilots.

The XT-28 and T-28A models were powered by an 800hp Wright Cyclone-7 R-1300.  This engine consisted of 7 cylinders arranged in a radial fashion and was basically half an R-2600.  It was also the last single row radial developed by Wright.  The Cyclone-7 also powered the the Thrush Commander 800 agplane, and the Westland Whirlwind S-55 and H-19 Chickasaw helicopters.  The engine grossly underpowered the Trojan.  This was done on purpose to imitate the early jet aircraft of the era and their long takeoff rolls.  All later variants, like the T-28C pictured here, were powered by the Wright Cyclone-9.  The T-28S Fennecs were re-engined with rebuilt   B-17 engines in place of the original R-1300s. 

George Baker's magnificent T-34 Mentor.  (George Baker previously raced his fury "GB's Skyfury".  Now known as "Southern Cross".)  There were approximately 1,300 of these aircraft produced and over 120 are still flying today.

Another T-34 at George Baker's hanger being rolled out for a flight. (Note the name on the cowling; a clever play on words.)

Yet another fine example of a T-34A Mentor coming out of George Baker's hanger.  This trainer was based on the Beech 35 Bonanza that has become so popular in general aviation.  It is powered by a Continental O-470, six cylinder horizontally opposed engine.  This highly reliable engine is used on many other light general aviation single and twin-engined aircraft.

This Nanchang CJ6A "Wong" is a Chinese built trainer.  It is often mistaken with the Russian Yak 18 but is not just a Chinese manufacture of the same aircraft, rather a redesigned aircraft.  One of the easiest differences can be seen in that the Yak 18's landing gear retracted forward and had no gear doors while the CJ6A has inward retracting gear and has gear doors.  The Yak 18 had an airfoil based on a 1930's design while the CJ6 has a far more modern airfoil similar to that on the Beech T-34 Mentor.  The engine is also slightly more powerful.  With these aerodynamic improvements and more power available this aircraft is much faster at all altitudes than the Yak 18. This particular Nanchang is an airshow performer based out of Kissimmee, Florida.  It is called "China Babe" and is sponsored by the airline Jet Blue.  (Notice the Jet Blue insignia on the tail)

The CJ6A is powered by a 9 cylinder radial engine derived from the Russian M-14R.  The Chinese version is called an HS6A and is rated at 285hp.  Notice the cowl shudders inside the cowling.  These were used to control the amount of air that entered the engine compartment for heating and cooling much like cowl flaps.

This aircraft is the Yak 50; a Russian single seat aerobatic aircraft.  The Yak 50 was powered by the M14 engine and in its many versions can produce between 260hp (AI14) and 450hp (M14R).  The engine's total displacement is 621 cubic inches or 10.16 Liters.  This engine is one of the highest horsepower per fuel burn built for aircraft burning a mere 10 gallons per hour at cruise.

The Yak 50 pictured above this one has been signed by aviation great Bob Hoover.  Hoover, among other accomplishments, was a WWII pilot, POW, test pilot at Muroc including the Bell X-1 (first aircraft to break the sound barrier), airshow pilot, and the first safety pilot for the Reno National Air Races.  Chuck Yeager and Bob Hoover frequented Pancho Barnes bar know as "Pancho's Happy Bottom Riding Club" on the Edwards AFB test range.  Yeager described Hoover as, "the best pilot I've ever seen."

This aircraft looks more like it's derived from the Yak 18, with it's tricycle landing gear, but actually was derived from the single seat Yak 50 which was pictured earlier.  It is the two seat Yak 52 and is considered a bargain for an aerobatic aircraft in it's class.  It is still in production by the Romanian company Aerostar.  It is powered by a 360hp version of the M-14 called the   M-14P.   Like the Yak 18 this aircraft has gear that retract forward and remain exposed in case of a gear up landing to minimize damage.  The propeller is unusual to the western world as it rotates counter-clockwise.  The prop is made of wood to be easily replaceable and minimize damage in a gear up situation.  Some more unusual features are that the brakes, flaps, and landing gear are all pneumatic rather than the conventional hydraulic system used by most aircraft.  This gives the aircraft a loaded weight of only 2,800lbs!


This DC-3 is one of the many still flying today after 70 years in service.  This particular aircraft has a history with the airlines and is still outfitted with the original passenger seats, jump seat, and lavatory!  It's in a gradual state of restoration but is a regular flyer and available for obtaining instruction towards your ATP and type rating in at around $1,000 an hour.

The M.C. Flyers DC-3 was manufactured before WWII and flew as a corporate aircraft, then a while in South America, and with Piedmont and Aero Transport Airlines as well as Air Texana.  It is still outfitted with airline seating including a fold away jump seat in the cockpit!

Most people probably wouldn't recognize this Navion as a warbird.  It was originally produced by North American, the same company that brought us the B-25 Mitchell, T-28 Trojan, and P-51 Mustang.  A few years after WWII ended North American quit making the Navion.  Three other companies went on to produce this aircraft up until the 1970's.  Some saw action in the Korean Conflict.



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Brian Whittingham 2004