T-6 trainer gets wings-off inspection, historic paint scheme at FRCSE

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1 A Hawker Beechcraft T-6A Texan II Turboprop Trainer aircraft used to train Navy and Marine Corps pilots and Naval flight officers sits near the seawall at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., May 19 after undergoing a wing-off structural inspection and receiving a vintage WWII paint scheme at Fleet Readiness Center Southeast. (U.S. Navy photo by Vic Pitts/Released) The Navy s Training Air Wing (TRAWING) 6 commander and the Wildcats of Training Squadron (VT) 10 visited Fleet Readiness Center Southeast (FRCSE) May 19 to thank the artisans and support personnel who conducted a specialized inspection and applied a vintage paint scheme to a Hawker Beechcraft T-6A Texan II Turboprop Trainer. Capt. John Rodriguez, the TRAWING 6 commodore, and numerous VT-10 personnel traveled from Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola to extend their gratitude to the FRCSE employees who performed the first-ever T-6 wing-off inspection in the field and applied custom paint. Rodriguez said the tandem-seat trainer is one of about 40 T-6 aircraft used to train Navy and Marine Corps aviators and Naval flight officers following completion of ground school and simulator training. Although a Navy asset, the T-6 Texan s unique paint scheme pays homage to a Marine Corps squadron. Page 1 of 5

2 The Marine Corps celebrates its centennial in 2012, said Rodriguez. We work together to support the nation s security policy and maritime strategy. I am proud to honor the Marines, and the paint is phenomenal. VT-10 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Kevin Quarderer echoed the commodore s sentiments and singled out Aircraft Painters Kenny Goodwin and Dean Taylor for their exacting contributions to the paint project. He said the aircraft is going to be a showpiece that will train the best and brightest Naval and Marine Corps aviators. He dedicated the aircraft to honor Air Force Senior Airman Mark A. Forester, a 29-year-old combat controller who died in the Uruzgan province, Afghanistan on Sept. 29, He was killed while attempting to save a fallen comrade during combat operations. The Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 312 Checkerboards provided air support during the battle. Quarderer said the squadron chose the T-6 paint scheme with its distinct checkerboard cowling to commemorate the pivotal role the Corsair and the Marine Fighter Squadron (VMF) 312 played during World War II. The squadron transitioned from the North American SNJ-4 Texan to the F4U-1 Corsair shortly after its commissioning June 1, 1943 at Page Field, Parris Island, S.C., according to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing unit history. The heritage paint scheme on the T-6 marks the end of the Heritage Paint Project and also a beginning, he said. While it is the last to be painted for the Centennial of Naval Aviation (CoNA) celebration, it pays tribute to the upcoming Marine Aviation Centennial that takes place next year. FRCSE Executive Officer Capt. Robert Caldwell said a lot of sweat went into the aircraft s restoration. He thanked the FRCSE team and said the aircraft is an incredible testament to their dedication and hard work. FRCSE personnel worked closely with the U.S. Air Force T-6 program office at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and the manufacturer to document the wing-off inspection completed March 1. Kurt Jones, a technical writer with Hawker Beechcraft documented the wing removal and reinstallation. In addition, he identified support equipment requirements. Fred Tschirner, the lead T-6 technical publications and flight manual manager traveled from Ohio to assist with the analytical condition inspection. Hawker Beechcraft Engineer Thane Arheart was also onsite to troubleshoot any problems, along with FRCSE In-Service Support Center Engineer Shannon Elliott. Elliott said this was the first T-6 to undergo a wing-off Aircraft Conditional Inspection in the field to assess material Page 2 of 5

3 condition issues, such as cracks, corrosion or damage. The aircraft was in very good shape with minimal damage, said Elliott. We were also validating procedures for the T-6 community. The support equipment called for in the manual did not work as advertised. The wing fuselage stand did not jack the aircraft off the ground. A person could not get enough leverage to turn the jackscrews to lift the airplane, so we suggested they retrofit their support equipment with hydraulic jacks. On June 1, the eye-catching T-6A successfully completed the functional check flight and passed first time out. Cmdr. Amos Stibolt piloted the aircraft assisted by co-pilot Lt. Nick Zimmerman. The T-6A is the 27th and final aircraft painted as part of the Heritage Paint Project to honor a bygone era for the Centennial of Naval Aviation (CoNA) celebration recognizing the significant contributions of Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard aviators. FRCSE artisans painted five of the 27 CoNA aircraft at the facility. The squadron flew the F4U Chance-Vought Corsair aircraft, the first American single-seat fighter capable of speeds in excess of 400 mph. The low-wing monoplane powered by a 2,100 hp Pratt & Whitney engine had a range of 1,000 miles. The aircraft was the primary Marine fighter used during the last two years of World War II and saw considerable action in the Pacific Theater. During a gathering at the Naval Air Station Jacksonville seawall May 19, Navy Training Squadron (VT) 10 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Kevin Quarderer (center) thanks the Fleet Readiness Center Southeast artisans for their efforts to inspect and paint a Hawker Beechcraft T-6A Texan II Trainer. (U.S. Navy photo by Vic Pitts/Released) Page 3 of 5

4 Capt. John Rodriguez (left) the Navy's Training Air Wing 6 Commodore shakes hands with Fleet Readiness Center Southeast (FRCSE) Executive Officer Capt. Robert Caldwell in appreciation for the restoration of a T-6A Texan Trainer. FRCSE artisans inspected and painted the aircraft in a heritage paint scheme to commemorate the role the Corsair and Marine Fighter Squadron (VMF) 312 played during WWII. (U.S. Navy photo by Vic Pitts/Released) Fleet Readiness Center Southeast (FRCSE) artisans and representatives from Hawker Beechcraft and the T-6 program office at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, assist with an Aircraft Conditional Inspection of a T-6A Texan II Trainer at FRCSE in Jacksonville, Fla., March 1. FRCSE artisans performed the first-ever wing-off conditional inspection conducted in the field. (U.S. Navy photo by Vic Pitts/Released) Page 4 of 5

5 Aircraft Painters Kenny Goodwin (left) and Dean Taylor (right) apply paint to the fuselage of a T-6A Texan II Turboprop Trainer at Fleet Readiness Center Southeast April 27. The "Wildcats" of Training Squadron (VT) 10 chose the historic paint scheme to honor a Marine Fighter Squadron (VMF) 312. (U.S. Navy photo by Vic Pitts/Released) Squadron Augmentation Unit Commanding Officer Cmdr. Amos Stibolt with Navy Training Squadron (VT) 10 conducts a check flight aided by co-pilot Lt. Nick Zimmerman in a T-6A Texan Trainer at Naval Air station (NAS) Jacksonville, Fla. June 1. The aircraft is used to train Navy and Marine Corps aviators at NAS Pensacola, Fla. (U.S. Navy photo by Vic Pitts/Released) Page 5 of 5

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