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First Student Takes Flight in T-6

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS100519-30

By Lt. j.g. Michael M. Daharsh, Naval Air Station Whiting Field Public Affairs

WHITING FIELD, Fla. - (NNS) -- It was another historic day for Training Squadron 3 and Training Wing 5 as the first student naval aviator to train in the T-6B Texan II took flight at Naval Air Station (NAS) Whiting Field May 18.

Student naval aviator, Ensign Christopher D. Farkas, teamed up with U.S. Marine Corps instructor pilot, Capt. Michael Perkins to complete the inaugural flight.

"VT-3 has been the first of many in aviation, and it's fitting to have the pleasure of introducing the T-6B to training with a Navy student and a Marine instructor by an aircraft jointly developed by the Air Force and Navy," said Cmdr. Jody Bridges, VT-3 commanding officer.

The T-6B Texan II is replacing its long time predecessor the T-34C Turbomentor. Training Air Wing 5 anticipates a complete transition at NAS Whiting Field by 2015. Developed jointly by the Air Force and Navy, the advanced training aircraft provides increased training capabilities similar to that of modern fleet aircraft.

"It has been a long time vision to have a joint training aircraft," said Lt. Col. Kent Hobson, VT-3 Executive Officer. "To finally have it is a good thing."

Three weeks previous to Tuesday's flight Farkas began ground school for the T-6B with 13 of his peers. The class was composed of Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard students. However, as the morning dawned and the flight line came to life it was Farkas who would be the first student to fly the next generation of Naval aviation's training aircraft.

"It was unlike anything I've experienced," Farkas gleamed. "To begin take off and feel the power of the aircraft, to lift off the ground for the first time and experience how nimble and dynamic it is… It's incredible."

The 2009 Naval Academy graduate has known his goal for a long time. When he was four his parents took him to an air show, and from that moment he has wanted to fly. Farkas majored in Aeronautical Engineering and has hopes to one day fly the F/A-18 Hornet.

"I realize there is always going to be another step to take. On one hand it's very humbling to have the honor of being the first but it was really just right time and right place. On one hand it's just my first flight. I'm here for the Wing of Gold," he said. "It's just amazing. Right time, right place, right day, I really lucked out."

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