May 14, 2013
By Jim Moore
While stung by—and still protesting—the loss to Embraer and Sierra Nevada Corp. of a lucrative U.S. Air Force contract to build light attack aircraft for Afghanistan, Beechcraft Corp. did land a deal to expand the T-6 turboprop fleet long used to train American military pilots.
The $210 million contract announced by the company May 13 will help keep Beechcraft’s Wichita, Kan., production staff busy through February 2015. It is the nineteenth production lot built for the Pentagon since deliveries of the turboprop T-6 began in 2000 under the Joint Primary Aircraft Training System program. The latest lot includes 35 aircraft, with an option for two more. The U.S. Navy will receive 33, with two slated for the U.S. Army, according to a company news release in which Beechcraft Defense Co. President Russ Bartlett noted the longstanding partnership.
“The contract will also provide increased stability for our Wichita workforce,” Bartlett said in the release.
Beechcraft in March delivered the 800th T-6, with a list of clients that also includes various foreign air forces. The latest version, the T-6C, has been fitted with glass cockpit and head-up displays to prepare pilots for high-tech frontline aircraft.
AOPA Online Associate Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.
A state-of-the art medical facility on remote Tangier Island in the Chesapeake Bay serves as a lasting memorial to the late Dr. David B. Nichols’ dedication to providing medical care to the community for 30 years. Now, Nichols’ aviation legacy—flying a Cessna 182 or Robinson R44 to the island every Thursday to provide that care—is set in stone.
The AOPA Medical Advisory Board is the latest group to urge quick action on the proposed FAA rule that would allow thousands more pilots to fly without the need for a third class medical certificate.
The Perlan Project is less than a year away from the first flight of a glider being built to ride waves near the edge of space. While construction continues in Oregon, the team’s pilots are staying proficient in more ordinary aircraft.
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