TURKISH ADVENTURE PART 2 OF 8
So, to recap, we have flown from the M.S.Ö. Air and Space Museum in Sivrihisar Turkey to Zafer (LTBZ) for fuel and then off to our destination at Kaklıç (LTFA) in Izmir, where we shall stay for the next few days to take part in the air show which is being run in conjunction with Tarkan, the famous Turkish singer and performer. The P-51D “Ferocious Frankie” arrived first, followed by myself and Hakan (Engineer), who was in the rear seat of the T6 “Happy Hour”. On landing at Kaklıç airfield, I was greeted by the “Follow Me” truck and taxied to our stand for the remaining few days preceding the air show.
This story is about the aviation side of the adventure. However, I do have to comment on the city of Izmir from a tourist’s perspective: My first impression was how clean and tidy the city was! The coastline was lovely, and, in the evening, the bright orange sunset on the horizon with a beautiful pink and purple hue in the sky was simply stunning! I didn’t realise that one of my display slots over the next few days would be around 7:15 pm, the perfect sunset as described!
We had one day to practice, followed by two days of displaying coordinated with other air show performers, such as the excellent “Solo Turk”, ripping it up in the F-16, and the legend Murat in the TAI Hürkuş (Free Bird). After the display briefing, we were all given our allotted display timings and frequencies. The display consisted of departing Kaklıç, climbing to 4000 feet overhead the airfield and then leaving to the South to hold over a tower block at 1000 feet. We would then proceed when called to the display area to the East on the coastline. Once the display was completed, we had to depart to the Northwest at 500 feet back to Kaklıç airfield – all quite simple stuff!
My first display went well, and I was more than happy when I identified the correct portion of the coast above which to display! I wasn’t going to have this problem on the day of the air show as 2.2 million people marked it! You heard me right – 2.2 million enthusiastic people along the coastline.
I tipped in from 2000 feet with the smoke system and landing lights on, accelerating to 200 knots IAS and, at the show centre, I went into my first move, which is the Cuban Eight. The performance at sea level in the T6 Texan was noticeable as she apexed at over 1200 feet! The ear-splitting noise of the Hamilton Standard propeller transonic at 2000 rpm reverberated off the buildings on the coastline. After approximately 10 minutes, it was time to head back to Kaklıç airfield for tea and medals.
In the next instalment, I will talk about the evening show looking down inverted over 2.2 million people and then having to make my way back to the hotel through the crowd – That was an adventure!