PT-22 Recruit Flight at Breighton - July 17th
had a long interest in the U.S. 8th Army Air Force, it was a fantastic
experience to fly in the 1942 built, Ryan PT-22 Recruit. It was one of
the primary U.S. trainers from WW2. I was only expecting a short
flight around as a passenger, but it was a great thrill to fly the
aircraft myself, and then for my first landing in any aircraft, to be
a WW2 era trainer.
The first four
pictures show the aircraft, then me with the parachute on and strapped
in. Time for a quick wave before engine start and we're good to go.
Forward visibility is somewhat restricted.
a few turns of the prop to prime the engine, with a cloud of smoke,
the big five cylinder radial roars into life. We then taxied out for
runway 28. From the cockpit shot, you can see why it is so important
to weave a taildragger aircraft on the taxiway. We held short of
runway 28 while a Miles Messenger lands, then taxied out, lined up and
opened the throttle ( see video below ).
away to the West on a beautiful sunny afternoon, seen from the ground
and from the cockpit. In the distance in the third picture, in line
with the wing, the former RAF Breighton, mostly covered now by an
industrial estate. That nose and big radial are still taking up a
large part of the forward view.
to the North West of Breighton airfield, it can be seen ahead of the
starboard wing. These were the last pictures I took, as from then on,
I was flying the aircraft. We returned to the airfield to do a run and
break prior to landing. Lost below our port wing, and out of sight to
us, a Bucker Jungmann lurks.
the separation in the pictures looks plenty, seeing him appear from
under the starboard wing, perhaps a couple of hundred feet below us
was somewhat of a surprise. The Jungmann continued North East as I ran
in towards the airfield. As I started to level up to run along the
runway, the Jungmann had turned to follow us.
descended down to about 35 feet altitude down the runway ( based on
the wingspan ), then power on, pull up and break into the landing
down and on finals, the speed was falling from 80 to 75 knots, I was
on the runway centre line. Just before Les called, I was already
easing the stick back to begin the hold off and flare.The
pictures capture the approach, hold off and roll out.
roll out speed continued to drop and Les called for a touch of brakes
to slow in order to turn off to the refuelling point.
the speed almost gone, a little throttle and rudder to turnoff
the runway to the fuelling point. Taxiing back, Lynne caught a picture
with "Jessie" in the foreground.Les
Clark was talking me through everything during the circuit from the
rear cockpit, until I brought the Ryan to a halt at the fuel pumps.
From the cockpit, it felt like I did a good landing, and the photos
from the ground seem to back that up! ( thankfully!! ). Lynne wasn't
aware I did the landing, so it must have looked smooth from the
Magneto switches to
off, and the clattering bag of hammers that is the Kinner Radial
engine, stops, returning my world to silence. Then it was the seat
harness unfastened, parachute unfastened and intercom unplugged. It
was hard enough to climb in wearing the chute; I can't imagine how
hard it would have been having to bail out.
The last shot shows me climbing out after 20 minutes of time travel
back to the 1940's. An amazing experience.