This is the story of a computer simulator dogfighter who for once in his life took up a real airplane in a laser tag simulated battle. The text was originally written for a fantasy role playing fan magazine. A little of the game terminology may be strange to the pilots among you, but then the pilot terminology will be as strange to the gamer. Ignore the fancy words, and just read.
If you are somewhat patient, and don't mind a small window, I am experimenting with putting up a Quicktime clip of part of the mission training. The Target Practice movie runs 1.5 Megs. You may have to be patient. I am still learning the tricks of video compression.
The clip is compressed using a new method available only under Quicktime 3. Unless you have recently upgraded your browser or OS, or are willing to visit Apple to download the newer QT, you might not want to bother. On the other hand, you are going to want QT3 someday anyway...
(The following was copied from www.landings.com.)
The pilot and passenger of a Beech T-34A Mentor operated by the Atlanta-based Sky Warriors dogfighting school were killed in a crash near the Georgia town of Cartersville April 19th (1999?).
Dan Bouck, 51, of Atlanta and Ted McFann, Sr., 60, of Alpharetta, Ga. were killed when a wing separated from their T-34 while engaged in a dogfight with another of the school's planes, authorities said. Bouck was the Sky Warriors pilot and McFann the passenger; both were experienced pilots with ATP licenses.
No one on the ground was injured and the second T-34 landed at Sky Warriors' home field without incident.
Based at Fulton County Airport-Brown Field, just west of Atlanta, Sky Warriors was one of the first air combat schools in the Southeast. Earl "Stinger" Arrowood, another ATP pilot, is the president of the company.
Sky Warriors operated a fleet of four camouflaged T-34s outfitted with laser guns and video cameras. In addition to air combat adventure rides, they also offered unusual attitude/spin training, formation flying and fighter lead-in training.
FAA ISSUES PRIORITY LETTER
AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVE ON T-34s
(The following was copied from www.airshows.org.)
On May 28, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a Priority Letter Airworthiness Directive that limits T-34As, T-34Bs, B-45s and YT-34s to speeds of 152 knots or slower, G loads of - 0 and +2.5, and no aerobatic maneuvers. The Priority Letter AD also requires that two placards clearly specifying these restrictions be placed on the front and rear instrument panels of these aircraft. The AD indicates that inspection procedures are being developed by Raytheon. Once the procedures are developed, the FAA may issue another AD specifying how to, "alleviate the restrictions imposed by [the original] AD."
The AD was issued as a direct result of an accident involving a T-34A involved in mock aerial combat in which the aircraft's right wing separated in-flight, resulting in a crash that killed both the pilot and his passenger. Following the accident, examination of the plane revealed structural fatigue cracks in both the right and left wings. Shortly after the crash, Raytheon/Beech, original manufacturers of the 40+ year old military trainers, issued a safety communiquÈ recommending immediate grounding of the entire fleet of T-34As, T-34Bs, B-45s and YT-34s.
Though the restrictions placed on the aircraft by the FAA are less severe than those recommended by Raytheon, reaction to the AD by air show performers was immediate. Many view the FAA's decision as an over reaction to a single incident. In the NTSB report to the FAA, NTSB Chairman Jim Hall wrote, "The safety board has found no other examples of possible wing-structure fatigue cracking in the long history of the T-34 series of airplanes." Others have questioned the issuance of such an open-ended AD affecting such a large number of aircraft. At the time the AD was issued, inspection procedures were not developed and no process for lifting the limitations had been specified.
ICAS will continue to report on this situation as it develops during the rest of this summer.
Endorsement of Technical Committee - A more detailed account of "T-34 Wing Spar Fatigue Cracking."
I would appreciate hearing from anyone who knows more.
Those interested might try Air Combat USA, at (800) 522-7590. They tour the country offering flight packages similar to the one described on these pages. They fly SIAI Marchetti SF260 aircraft, and seem to be continuing normal operations.
Sky Warriors, Inc. 3996 Aviation Circle, Hangar B-3. Fulton County - Brown Field Atlanta GA 30336 The Art of the Kill Spectrum HoloByte. 2490 Mariner Square Loop Alameda, CA 94501 Hellcats Graphic Simulations Corporation P.O. Box 797306 Dallas, Texas 75379-7306
Babes and Airplanes. While searching the web for the Sky Warrior's fate, I bumped into another account of a Sky Warriors flight. These ladies were born with wings. Their description is less technical, but they sure had a good time.
I would be interested in hearing more on the T-34 problems. I am quite willing to link to any other adventure dogfighting pages. I can be contacted through...
Robert W. Butler Jr.