a civilian mission. The T- 6 gives you the full military
experience with all of the good, bad, and just plain odd
that comes along with the way Uncle Sam did things
60-something years ago.
As I’m sure you know, the T- 6 was the advanced
trainer that took cadet pilots from the basic trainers
such as the Stearman and others in the “PT” series
and prepared them to fly the then new fighters and
bombers. Because development of the T- 6—more formally the AT- 6—preceded creation of many of what
would become frontline fighters in the war, the T- 6
set a standard, particularly for other North American
designs. The cockpit layout, control placement, basic
systems, and so on in the T- 6 are very similar to those
in other warbirds.
Pilots with experience in many warbirds, however,
say the T- 6 is more demanding of a pilot than most fighters and bombers designed later. Sean said it’s easier to
check out in a P- 51, for example, than the T- 6, particularly for takeoffs and landings. The ground-handling
qualities of the T- 6 are almost certainly more accidental
than intentional design, but everything worked out
for the best. New pilots who could master the T- 6 to
advance in their training were better prepared because
the pilot maker didn’t cut them any slack.
Pilots with experience in many
warbirds, however, say the T- 6
is more demanding of a pilot
than most fighters and bombers
It’s impossible—and certainly foolish—to generalize
about any fact concerning a warbird because almost anything and everything possible was tried at least once
during the massive war buildup. But with the T- 6, unlike
many other airplanes of the era, it is accurate to say that
all but a handful were powered by the Pratt & Whitney
R-1340 nine-cylinder radial engine. The 1340s had several
different dash numbers, and some differences in horsepower ratings, but the most common output is 600 hp.
The T- 6 in Combat
The T in T- 6 stands for trainer, and that’s
what it did, but in Korea, the airplane was
renamed the LT-6G and flew forward air
control missions in the 6147th Tactical
Control Squadron of the 5th Air Force
known as the Mosquito Squadron.
The Mosquito pilots flew a total of 40,354
sorties for a combat total of 117,471 hours.
The squadron lost 42 airplanes in combat,
and 33 pilots were killed.
The LT-6Gs the Mosquitos flew had .30-
caliber machine gun pods mounted under
the wing, but their real armament was
small rockets the pilots used to mark
bombing targets with smoke.