US Air Force Capt Hunter Barnhill is an instructor pilot with the 37th FTS in Columbus, Mississippi. Last year, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor:
[Barnhill] went to the flight doctor who sent him to Baptist Memorial Hospital for a MRI where the doctors found a brain tumor…
The intense nature of the surgery caused him to suffer from post-operative Supplementary Motor Area Syndrome.
SMA hit hard, rendering him unable to speak and paralyzed his right side. He participated in physical and speech therapy for three months and worked to gain his abilities to sit up, walk, run and speak as he had done only weeks ago.
While shocking and traumatic, the notable theme throughout the official Air Force article is the role of Barnhill’s faith, and the impact it had on both him and those around him: Read more
On Saturday, a US Navy T-6A Texan II training airplane crashed near Las Cruces, New Mexico. The Navy reported the two-man crew ejected during their “routine training flight.”
On Monday, a US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet crashed near Lemoore Naval Air Station in California, as reported by the Navy. The single pilot is said to have ejected safely. Read more
A US Air Force T-6A Texan II experienced an engine failure in April, and solo instructor pilot Capt Eric Clements safely recovered it to Vance AFB in Enid, Oklahoma. The incident was reportedly in the local press (and then picked up at the Stars and Stripes and Military.com), and Clements was quoted being somewhat effusive in praise about his own performance:
“It was beautiful,” he said with a smile. “It was really one of my better ELPs (emergency landing patterns) I had ever done.”
Since he teaches students to handle emergencies such as the one he faced, Clements was asked what grade he would give himself for his work that day.
“I would have graded myself an excellent,” he said. “I want to be humble Read more
Vance Air Force Base has posted an ongoing pilot training journal written by 2Lt S. Tucker Browne. Lt Browne started his training in August of last year, first flying T-6A Texan IIs and then T-38C Talons. His graduation from the year-long course should be soon.
His journal should have some interesting tidbits, including a look into some ongoing pilot traditions, like the solo dunk tank (recounted by another pilot here, and copied here):
On Monday, our class had the privilege of sending one of our own up into the pattern alone. The pilot, 2nd Lt. Latessa Bortner, said it was a really fun experience…
When she landed, we were ready for the age-old tradition of Read more
Though it has been done under “beta” conditions in the past, the US Air Force is now conducting its first actual training class of UAV pilots who were not previously aviators.
The training is not short. The new Lieutenants have already completed flight screening, must conduct a significant amount of T-6 simulator training, RPA basic training, and then finally to the basic qualfiication course for UAVs. The “pipeline” is programmed as about a year.
A highly modified version of the T-6 training aircraft has been flown at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in a flight test project run by the Air National Guard and Reserve:
In appearance, Hawker Beechcraft AT-6Cs resemble the fighters of yesteryear with single engine propellers and shark-face nose art. They are, in actuality, one possible candidate for Air Force light attack aircraft and the latest project for Air National Guard Air Force Reserve Command Test Center officials based at Tucson International Airport.
The T-6s pictured have wing-mounted tanks and what appears Read more
The Air Force already retired the T-37B Tweet and is flying the T-6A Texan II as its primary introductory flight trainer. The T-6 was the result of a “joint” program between the Air Force and Navy. The Navy has been transitioning from its T-34C Turbomentor to the Navy version of the trainer, the T-6B.
An article at the Navy Times notes the T-6 is a huge leap from the earlier T-34 — even sporting ejection seats. Distressed pilots in the T-34 had to manually jump over the side if they needed to exit the aircraft in flight, a la WWII.
In a seemingly rough week for aircraft, a student and instructor successfully ejected from their T-6A Texan II near Laughlin AFB, Texas, late last week. As usual, it will be more than 30 days before a report is released on the cause.
In India, a pilot successfully ejected from his MiG-27 before it crashed.
And according to FoxNews, a commuter jet had an unsafe gear and scraped a wing down the runway in New York. (Video on YouTube.)