Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Instructor Rob Kostecka Takes Harvard Ground School to New Heights

Instructor Rob Kostecka discussing the finer points of the hydraulic flaps.

During the 28-29 of January, Vintage Wings held their first Warbird U Ground School of the year. The two-day course was focused on the Harvard aircraft, a WWII trainer.

Participants attended lectures on Saturday, learning about the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan and the history of the Harvard, the R1340 radial engine components and operation, as well as the fuel, gear, hydraulic, electrical and flight control systems. The lectures were interactive and absorbing, and were accompanied by meticulously detailed and skilfully animated PowerPoint presentations.

Sunday morning comprised a step-by-step walk through of a flight in the Harvard, including aerobatics, followed by an afternoon where each participant got a tour of the Vintage Wings collection, a personal cockpit tour, and a hero shot of him/herself sitting in the cockpit.

The 70-year-old aircraft literally came to life for participants as they listened to the whine of a radial engine starting up, leafed through authentic WWII training booklets and logbooks, talked to veterans who trained on Harvards, and were able to get up close and personal with the aircraft they had just spent two days learning about.

One highlight was seeing first hand a parachute being deployed.
Volunteer and Vintage Wings Pilot Joe Cosmano demonstrates a parachute deployment.

It wasn’t just those physically present that were being educated; for the first time, Vintage Wings partnered with Canadian Warplane Heritage to teleconference the presentation live to participants in Hamilton. The technology was not without its initial difficulties, but after a bit of fine tuning, the system worked well.

What did people think about the ground school?

Hamilton participant and Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association (CHAA) member Edward Soye said,

“Overall, its great!...There are 7-8 CHAA guys here and they’re getting a lot out of it.”

“Vintage Wings is Disneyland for aviators, and the ground school is one of the sweetest rides!” said participant Laurie Anne Smith.

Vintage Wings would like to thank their partners the Canada Aviation and Space Museum and Canadian Warplane Heritage.
Participant Laurie Anne Smith can hardly contain her grin during her cockpit tour with volunteer and Vintage Wings pilot John Aitken.

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