You may remember when I built the Rapide that @brianj1uk posted that he was the pilot in the video! Brian PM’d me and very kindly offered to show me around, when he was there. Brian was exceptionally kind and persevered with invites and, third time lucky, I made the trip at the end of October.
Brian Jones – I’ve told this story before, but for new readers Brian met me and I was privileged to do his pre-flight walk around with him. I must admit the Harvard has not been one of my favourite types but some of Brian’s enthusiasm soon rubbed off – she’s a sturdy bird but beautifully designed with some great features. Oh, and big, sturdy girl.
Brian Jones is an airline pilot and very experienced flying instructor. Brian is one of the partners at T6 Harvard Aviation and regularly flys the “Wacky Wabbit”
Surprise – Brian was very busy with paying customers but I was more than happy to wait around and soak up the atmosphere. Like the Harvard ‘blarting’ its way into the air. Joining the crowd around the Spitfire TR.9 (another one!) and seeing both flying around. I’d arranged to see Brian again for a sit in the Harvard and Rapide so went back to the hut. Brian took my coat and asked if I had any loose articles – just my trousers, but we agreed it would be better if I kept those on. Out to the T6, in the back and then… they strapped me in! Brian told me we were going for a quick flight – how excited was I? I’ll bet you can imagine.
Off we go – We taxyed to the holding point and went through the pre-flight checks. “I’m rushing a bit because the Spitfire’s behind us” said Brian and off we went. The cross wind made it an interesting take off but soon we were in the air and climbing, fast. “I was hoping that the Spitfire would overtake us and we could have a look” said Brian, but she was still on the ground. Time for a bit of ‘training’ for me on effect of controls. She’s very responsive but you can feel the inertia. Very nice. More Harvard love. “There’s the Spitfire” says Brian and, sure enough, she was at ten o’clock low, right to left (sorry Steve, missed my chance to ‘Tally’ again!).
Airborne – Brian waggled the wings, flung the Harvard on her side (I think that’s probably the right word for it) and we went after her, approaching in a sweeping turn, high at her eight o’clock… well, probably more like half-past seven but you get the idea. I resisted the temptation to dagadagadaga, just. We pulled up alongside, pilots waving to each other, and flew in formation for a few minutes. As Brian said, “Only at Duxford”. Then, as if on cue, the sun appeared and lit up the TR.9. What a sight. It will certainly be in my mind for some time. We waved goodbye, peeled away to the left and headed to a suitable spot where Brian demonstrated the aerobatic abilities of the Harvard. Loops, barrel rolls, aileron rolls (I now know the difference) and half Cubans. Amazing. I now have ‘Harvard love’. Thanks Brian, very, very much.
This thread is my attempt at modelling T6 Harvard Aviation’s ‘Wacky Wabbit’ using a couple of kits I picked up at Telford. Should be, good, fun. In October 2017 I was lucky enough to have two warbird flights, one in the Boultbee Spitfire I built here and the other in the ‘Wacky Wabbit’ Harvard (thanks to Brian) of T6 Harvard Aviation Duxford.
Building the model – The full story and the ‘crikey I learned a lot’ WiP is here. New things include a LONG discussion on creating custom decals from photos. The kit is the old Heller T-6G Texan and some modifications included custom decals, pitot, exhaust, canopy framing, fuel fillers, undercarriage indicators and crew. Not a fully accurate model but the best I can do and a great memory of the day. Painted with Colourcoats (I love them now too) mostly airbrushed but with some brush work, especially dotting around the decals.
In Formation – Without the hand, obviously. Yes, we did fly in formation with a Spitfire – I did say I was lucky. Not this one (that’s my Boutlbee) It is a day I will remember for a long long time. It’s also given me a liking for the Harvard; previously I thought ‘dumpy’, now I think ‘sturdy girl’. Very aerobatic sturdy girl. I may even love them now, a bit.
Thanks Brian Jones (T6 Harvard Aviation Partner)
This article was taken with permission from the Brit modeller with kind permission from the author CedB – Edited