T6 Harvard Aviation


STEP 2 - First Flight - THE START

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The initial walk around of the Harvard is like any aircraft paying specific attention to removing covers, fuel and water checks, cleaning any abrasives off the olio legs and checking creep marks on the tyres.

After waggling the wings and flaps the most noticeable difference on the walk round is pulling the prop through its 9 radial cylinders. I have since read the pro’s and cons of pulling the prop though to alleviate the problem of ‘hydraulic lock’ however it’s an old tried and tested method if done carefully.

If there is any resistance at all when pulling the prop through its well worth removing the bottom spark plugs to drain any excess fluids out of the cylinder. Swinging your body weight off the prop to turn it will cause untold damage if there is any resistance due to any hydraulic lock.

Just 50 pounds of leverage on the huge ‘Hamilton Standard’ prop equals many times that force where the con rods meet the crank … I would not want to stress the con rods and suffer an engine failure in this ‘Aerodynamic brick’ at any stage of flight.

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The R-1340 Pratt and Whitney Wasp engine on this monster is a 9 cylinder, air cooled radial engine. It was first designed and ran I around 1925 so it’s an old bit of kit, having said that it produces around 600-horse power and has proven to be an amazingly robust and reliable power plant.

Having completed the walk around its time to fire the beast up. Sitting in the cockpit really makes you feel like you are in a fighter aircraft. It was built for overgrown Texans and reminded me initially of sitting behind an old church organ with levers and stoppers everywhere. It’s bigger than a Spitfire or Hurricane inside however it still retains that fighter feel. Unmistakable military light green airframe paintwork, large over manufactured under carriage and flap levers and the smell of fuel and oil creates the real feeling of being in a time warp back to the 1930’s.

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Having completed the through walk around its time to step in to the office. Generally I adjust the seat up or down at this point by selecting the lever on the right hand side of the seat. It doesn't move forward or back only up or down. I always set the seat high so I can see over the large round nose in front of me, there is no point in cheating my self out of a good look out to the front. The foot pedals are adjusted easily by levers on the sides of the rudder pedals, these can be adjusted by your feet to get them in the correct position, especially of you are a 5' 9'' short arse like me! of course full rudder authority is very important on a tail dragger and especially the T6, you will using a lot of rudder through out the next phases of operation.

Once seated comfortably I clip on the 5 point harness in a loose fashion and reach over to my right and flick on the Battery switch. I usually put my head set on at this point because when it starts your going to be busy and its nice to have comm's immediately with the tower or any rear seat passenger or instructor.

Check down to your below right and below left fuel to locate the fuel gauges in the belly of the aircraft for sufficient fuel, measured in Imperial gallons, check you have two greens for the undercarriage and make sure you have full and free movement on your stick. The next part is the fun part, this is where I call it the 'One armed paper hanger' scenario......

Its time to hold the stick back, pump the waffle or wobble pump until you have fuel pressure in the green. Prime the giant radial with at least 5 good pressurised pumps of fuel from the Ki Gas primer. Leave the primer out now because you may need it as the engine fires to add a little more fuel to keep her running...

With the engine primed its time to engage the starter motor with your right foot. Depress the pedal with your foot and count 4 blade tips as the prop rotates clockwise as you look forward from your seat... As soon as you have 4 blades turn on the mags with your left hand and you should hear a series of small pops and bangs as the engine catches, it may need a few more shots from the primer to get the beast running!

As soon as she is running and you have sufficient oil pressure slowly move the prop lever forward in to the fully fine position. As you do this it takes quite a bit of oil to move those big blades on the Hamilton Standard propeller and there will be a small drop in manifold pressure as this happens.... Once the prop is in fine pitch and the engine is running smoothly, lock in the primer and keep the RPM to a steady 1000 for the time being as the cylinder head temperature starts to rise slowly..

All this has to be done while ensuring that the aircraft hasn't started to creep forward... If while starting the aircraft and it starts to move because the parking brake hasn't held or you were unable to cover the brakes correctly, you MUST reduce power to idle before attempting to apply brake pressure otherwise you may find your self and the Harvard on its nose! I have been scolded for this just the once and I am very cautious now of this point. This goes for any movement and especially the power checks.

STEP 1 - First Flight in the T6 Harvard
STEP 2 -
Starting the T6 Harvard
STEP 3 -
The T6 Harvard Pre Take Off and Taxi
STEP 4 -
First T6 Harvard "Solo"

Photography - Where possible we have attributed all photographs to the photographer where known. Its not our intention to breach any copyright as most of the pictures have been taken from open source media.

email: Info@T6Harvard.com
Mobile: +44 (0) 7850 907183 (Glen)
Mobile: +44 (0) 7840 750999 (Neil)
Mobile: +44 (0) 7747 841348 (Mike)
Mobile: +44 (0) 7717534574 (Andy)
+973 35346217 (Andy Primary)

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