There are many reasons for setting up your own company – and Andy Goodall’s was to allow him to fly the T-6 Harvard…
Yayeri van Baarsen – 24 June 2022
How did you get into flying?
After 2,500 skydives in the Parachute Regiments Free Fall Team, The Red Devils, I fancied flying the team’s Turbine Norman Islander.
Our Regimental colonel said, “Don’t you think that’s rather ambitious, old boy?”. This motivated me even more. I completed my PPL in September 2001 and was in the air when the first Twin Tower was hit – a memorable flying course.
I’m one of the directors of T6 Harvard, which offers training and experience flights in the Harvard. It’s more a passion than a job: it allows me to fly the Harvard, which would be very expensive otherwise.
I fly about 100 hours each year, mostly 15-20-minute trips – airshow practice, introductory flights, or teaching.
The Harvard is the intro to warbirds. It’s essential to fly it before you even think of flying the Spitfire or Hurricane.
There’s a considerable amount of heavy iron beneath you and a big powerful engine that wants to take you left off the runway; you’ve really got to control the beast.
The Harvard is underpowered for its weight and has lots of drag during aerobatics. It loses energy very quickly and requires energy management, making it a difficult aircraft to perform well – I enjoy doing airshows in it.
What I love most is that it’s flying a piece of history. Stepping into these machines, you smell the same oil and leather as the pilots who flew them 80 years ago.
Most WWII aces trained on the Harvard. Our flights give people a chance to relive this heritage, for example, the Battle of Britain experiences.
They’re also cost-effective. People pay nearly £3,000 for a Spitfire flight, but £399 gets you the experience in a Harvard.
Naturally, WWII veterans fly for free.
“Stepping into these machines, you’re smelling the same oil and leather as the pilots who flew them 80 years ago”
Our pilots are flying instructors with plenty of Harvard solo time, considerable tailwheel time, checked out on crosswind conditions and experience in aerobatics.
They’re volunteers and completely warbird crazy.
For me, it’s a lifestyle – displaying the aircraft in all its glory and showing the public a bit of history, which is fantastic.
Qualifying as a drop pilot in 2002, I flew parachute aeroplanes for ten years—first Cessna Caravans, then Islanders. Then, one day, I met a guy rebuilding a Spitfire and cheekily asked if I could fly it.
His answer: “Sure, get five hours of Harvard experience first.” However, I soon noticed that Harvard was entirely different for an Islander, and I’d need over 100 hours!
In 2010, I bought a share in a Harvard and realised the only way to fly it cheaply was to run it as a business. So in 2015, I had it painted as the Wacky Wabbit, and in 2019, T6 Harvard was established as a limited company.
A flight in the Hurricane for my Category C Display Authorisation in April 2022.
The examiner asked me to fly it like a fighter, so I put on a display practice at 280mph, 100ft above ground, over Duxford.
Flying my regular Harvard routine, which I’ve practised many times in the Hurricane, made this flight very special. After the eight-minute display, I had a grin from ear to ear!
Duxford. It’s steeped in aviation history. When taxying out, having a Spitfire in front and a Messerschmitt behind me is not unusual.
On any given day in Duxford, you can see a Spitfire, Hurricane or sometimes even a Corsair flying overhead; it’s incredible.
Yes, my friends use me in the UK as an air taxi. This is because I love flying small aircraft.
Thrashing around in the Hurricane at over 200mph is cool, but it’s also nice to cruise at 70-80mph in an L4 Cub or Chipmunk, enjoying the scenery.
Having sold my Auster, I’m now looking for another small taildragger. I also fly for the Air & Space Museum in Sivrihisar, Turkey, displaying their T6 and Tiger Moth.
If you want to get into warbirds, get involved with an organisation that deals with them.
No flying experience? Start on the ground; volunteer to sweep floors and polish aircraft. All our volunteers get to fly back seat at the Harvard, and our instructors get many hours to gain more experience.
Warbird enthusiast, display pilot and director of T6 Harvard Ltd. Andy Goodall has 450 flying hours in six different Harvards
|STARTED CURRENT JOB||2019|
|NOW FLYING||T-6 Harvard ‘Wacky Wabbit’, Hurricane, P-51 Mustang, L4 Cub, Chipmunk, Tiger Moth|
|FAVOURITE AIRCRAFT||Grumman F8F Bearcat|
|HOURS AT JOB START||Approx. 1,200|
|HOURS NOW||Approx. 2,000|