Another first for a New Zealand airshow, following the announcement of a 3-ship North American T-28 Trojan display at next Easter’s Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow.
New Plymouth-based pilots, Brett Emeny and Peter Vause, were due to debut their Trojan pairs display at the 2020 Wanaka Airshow before Covid intervened. For 2022 they are being joined by Dave Brown at the controls of the Brian Hall-owned T-28G from Christchurch.
Warbirds Over Wanaka General Manager, Ed Taylor, says not seeing the pairs display last year was a big disappointment but that’s going to be more than made up for with a 3-ship next Easter.
“We had Brett’s Trojan at the 2018 Airshow, after a 14-year absence and it was a real hit with Warbirds fans. It’s a big aircraft and it’s also very noisy which people love. Having three of these great machines in the air at once will be special.”
Brett has owned Trojan T-28C # 563 for a number of years, while Peter purchased Trojan T-28B # 973 from Australia a couple of years ago. Both aircraft are painted in the same US Navy colour scheme.
Meanwhile, Brian Hall’s Trojan is the result of a 16,000-hour restoration project in the United States.
Brian had been looking for a T-28 for a few years and was at the Oshkosh airshow in the US when he heard about the aircraft based at Rockford, Illinois. Brian fell in love with the aircraft after being suitably impressed by its back story.
North American T28G Trojan BuNo 138218 was constructed in 1953 entering service with the US Navy in 1954, spending 29 years in service at Pensacola and Texas, logging just over 15000hrs TT. She was then sent to the boneyard at Tuscon, Arizona where she sat for over two years.
Eventually the Trojan was sold to a retired naval aviator, made airworthy and flown to New York to undertake what would become a 16,000-hour restoration. The owner insisted he wanted “the best T-28 in the world”. The wings were strengthened and recovered with new thicker skins, new fuel bladders were fitted. The fuselage was also strengthened and recovered with thicker skins.
A major modification was the change of power plant from a 9-cylinder Curtiss Wright 1425 hp engine to a custom-built Pratt & Whitney R2000 14-cylinder radial rated at 1450 hp. This engine drives a modified Grumman Tracker 3 bladed propeller through an 1830 gearbox reducing engine rpm by 200 rpm with a cruise speed of around 190 knots (352 kph).
The Trojan was produced during the 1950s and was first used as a military trainer aircraft by the United States Air Force and United States Navy. During the 1960s the T-28 was successfully employed as a counter-insurgency aircraft, primarily during the Vietnam War.
For more information and to get tickets to the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest Warbirds Airshow being held at Easter 2022 (April 15th, 16th, 17th with Rides Day on April 18th) go to www.warbirdsoveranaka.co.nz