In mid-March our BT-13 aircraft experienced a loss of power and vibration on the downwind leg, but the pilot was able to make a safe, essentially power-off landing. The engine went to the overhaul facility at Covington Aircraft Engines where their overhaul contract estimate plus other accessories work needed, freight, and parts result in a complete overhaul that will cost $72,000. The funds will go strictly for contracted repair, overhaul and materials. All labor will be performed by volunteers, including some of our cadets (ages 12-23).
The National Capitol Squadron (NCS) is based at the Culpeper Regional Airport, Brandy Station, VA and is the Washington, DC Metro area unit of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) nationally comprised of over 10,000 members and organized into 75 Wings, Squadrons and Detachments located in 26 U.S. states and four other countries committed to preserving World War II American aviation heritage in flying condition. While this BT-13 actually trained WWII pilots at Shaw Army Air Field, today the NCS operates it in the appropriate markings to represent a trainer based at Tuskegee Army Air Field (TAAF) during WWII in honor of Squadron and Commemorative Air Force Honorary Members, General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., USAF (Ret) combat leader of the Tuskegee Airmen, and Colonel Charles E. McGee, USAF (Ret) also a leading Tuskegee Airman. The buzz number for the trainer, TU-70, represents a BT-13 that Colonel McGee flew the most (over 20 times) during training in 1943. Although trainers were not assigned to individual airman, we have added pilot names for General Davis and Colonel McGee on the BT-13 in their honor. We take great pride in helping educate the public about the sacrifices of the Tuskegee Airmen, often in conjunction with members of the Tuskegee Airmen including Colonel McGee.
Help Us Get Her Back in the Air!
Losing the ability to fly this aircraft to air shows at the start of the 2014 season is frustrating, and the desire is to get it back in the air and back in public view as quickly as possible. Covington estimates they can repair the engine in 4-5 weeks, but shipment will depend on our ability to pay their bill. Our schedule is therefore driven almost entirely by the date we have sufficient funds for release of the overhauled engine from Covington. The target is to have the BT-13 flying again by the end of June.
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R. William Douglas
Lt. Col., USAF (Ret)
National Capitol Squadron
Commemorative Air Force