I Get Paid For This

Warbird enthusiast…

There are many reason for setting up your own company – and Andy Goodall’s was to allow him to fly the T-6 Harvard…

IGPFT Andy Goodall

How did you get into flying?

After 2,500 skydives in the Parachute Regiments Free Fall Team, The Red Devils, I fancied flying the team’s Turbine Norman Islander.

Our Regimental colonel said, “Don’t you think that’s rather ambitious, old boy?”. This motivated me even more. I completed my PPL in September 2001 and was in the air when the first Twin Tower was hit – a memorable flying course.

Tell us about your job?

I’m one of the directors of T6 Harvard, which offers training and experience flights in the Harvard. It’s more a passion than a job: it allows me to fly the Harvard, which would be very expensive otherwise.

Each year, I fly about 100 hours, mostly 15-20-minute trips – airshow practice, introductory flights, or teaching.

The Harvard is the intro to warbirds. It’s essential to fly it before you even think of flying the Spitfire or Hurricane.

There’s a huge amount of heavy iron beneath you and a big powerful engine that wants to take you left off the runway, you’ve really got to control the beast.

During aerobatics, the Harvard is underpowered for its weight and has lots of drag. It loses energy very quickly and requires energy management, which makes it a difficult aircraft to perform well – I enjoy doing airshows in it.

What I love most, though, is that it’s flying a piece of history. Stepping into these machines, you’re smelling the same oil and leather as the pilots who flew them 80 years ago.

Most WWII aces trained on the Harvard. Our flights give people a chance to relive this heritage, for example in the Battle of Britain experiences.

They’re also cost-effective. People pay nearly £3,000 for a Spitfire flight, but £399 gets you the experience in a Harvard.

Naturally, WWII veterans fly for free.

“Stepping into these machines, you’re smelling the same oil and leather as the pilots who flew them 80 years ago”

Our pilots are flying instructors, with plenty of Harvard solo time, considerable tailwheel time, checked out on crosswind conditions and experienced in aerobatics.

They’re volunteers and completely warbird crazy.

For me, it’s a lifestyle – displaying the aircraft in all its glory, you’re showing the public a bit of history, which is amazing.

IGPFT Andy Godall
Andy bought a share in a Harvard – and in 2015 painted it as the Wacky Wabbit…

What training did you have?

Qualifying as a drop pilot in 2002, I flew parachute aeroplanes for 10 years. First Cessna Caravans, then Islanders. One day, I met a guy rebuilding a Spitfire and cheekily asked if I could fly it.

His answer: “Sure, get five hours Harvard experience first.” However, I soon noticed the Harvard was completely different to the Islander and I’d need over 100 hours!

In 2010, I bought a share in a Harvard and realised the only way to fly it cheaply was to run it as a business. In 2015, I had it painted as the Wacky Wabbit, and in 2019, T6 Harvard was established as a limited company.

What’s been your favourite flight?

A flight in the Hurricane for my Category C Display Authorisation in April 2022.

The examiner asked me to fly it like a fighter, so I put on a display practice at 280mph, 100ft above ground, over Duxford.

Flying my normal Harvard routine, which I’ve practised many times in the Hurricane, made this flight very special. After the eight-minute display, I had a grin from ear to ear!

IGPFT Andy Goodall
Impressive Wacky Wabbit emerges from the smoke…

And your favourite airfield?

Duxford. It’s steeped in aviation history. When taxying out, it’s not unusual to have a Spitfire in front, and a Messerschmitt behind me.

On any given day in Duxford, you can see a Spitfire, Hurricane or sometimes even a Corsair flying overhead, it’s incredible.

Do you get to fly much outside of work?

Yes, in the UK, my friends use me as an air taxi. I love flying small aircraft.

Thrashing around in the Hurricane at over 200mph is cool, but it’s also nice to cruise at 70-80mph in an L4 Cub or Chipmunk, enjoying the scenery.

Having sold my Auster, I’m now looking for another small taildragger. I also fly for the Air & Space Museum in Sivrihisar, Turkey, displaying their T6 and Tiger Moth.

What’s your most valuable career advice?

If you want to get into warbirds, get involved with an organisation that deals with them.

No flying experience? Start on the ground; volunteer to sweep floors and polish aircraft. All our volunteers get to fly back seat in the Harvard, and our instructors get many hours to gain more experience.

IGPFT Andy Goodall

Flying CV

Warbird enthusiast, display pilot and director of T6 Harvard Ltd. Andy Goodall has 450 flying hours in six different Harvards

Started current job 2019
Now flying T-6 Harvard ‘Wacky Wabbit’, Hurricane, P-51 Mustang, L4 Cub, Chipmunk, Tiger Moth
Favourite aircraft Grumman F8F Bearcat
Hours at job start Approx. 1,200
Hours now Approx. 2,000
See 1 comments

1 comment

  • Jane GIFFOULD says:

    I was also in the air at Twin Towers time. Just before going up I heard someone talk about bombing and thought they were playing some video game. On landing I found out, then pointed out that if club members wanted to watch it on TV it would help to plug it in! We sat there aghast with all from PPL students to airline captains saying ‘But a pilot would not do that.’

    I have had one go in a Harvard and loved it. My purse does not stretch to any more!

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