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T-67 Firefly in the US? Or an acro option for the poor masses?

hindsight2020

Yeah Buddy
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Oct 14, 2004
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23:41Z
Hi folks,

Still doing some research and I started reading up on the Firefly. It is my understanding that they are common in the UK and that the USAF purchased a bunch of them for the IFT program (re-named it the T-3). I know a couple of them crashed in the mid-90's, eventually halting the program and having Big Blue contract out the IFT program to civilian FBOs. However, there was nothing in the reports that suggested anything was actually wrong with the airframe, so they still seem in my mind a very viable buy into the acro world, and dual-utility for some basic flight instruction/upset training/acro training.

So far I haven't heard of the Brits having any sort of problems with the T-67, and I was wondering if that aircraft is available in the US, or could be imported from Britain? (before they get priced-gouged like every other airplane in the "it used to be affordable until it got to the US" category). It is my understanding that the engine issues with the USAF's now defunked T-3 had to do with engine mods and auto-mixtures, circumstances which do not apply to the the stock T-67 flown abroad. (I think the USAF still has their Fireflies chained down and not open for auction, so that point is moot).

Anybody with experience or intel on the Fireflies currently flying would be appreciated. My research so far has turned a little dissapointing: The Scottish Aviation Bulldogs have an issue with the wing spar fatigue life, and once the RAF released them to the public you can't find one with anything less than a gazillion hours, let alone in the States. The Pitts S-2A/B/Cs are expensive in the big picture, particularly for somebody who would have to burn cash just building the tailwheel time before even being able to get a reasonable insurance quote. The Yak-52 WAS affordable but now they're all westernized and price-gouged (thank you doctors...), and not the most student-friendly platform to instruct in. The Zlin 242 is too expensive (for what it is as an acro platform anyways), and the 142 has been sold to me as a MX nightmare with the MK engine (not sure how true that is), plus it seems to be going for the price of a newer Pitts, which makes it a moot choice. Affordable Citabrias/Decathlons have the wood wing issue (and revisit the expense of tailwheel time build for insurance), the new 7/8KCABs have the metal spar but the price goes thru the roof.

I refuse to believe that the only affordable dual-purpose entry level acro platform which is not a shot-out duct-taped wing spar POS, is a stinkin' aerobat, I wouldn't even bother owning that.

The Firefly looks too good to be true, I'm sure something will come up with it (price or otherwise)...Lie to me!! LOL
 

sky37d

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it appears that the version used in most cases is the 200HP version.
The Air Force used the 260 HP version, and I'm copying from something I found.

The T-3's engine had failed 66 times at takeoff or landing, and the Air Force grounded 57 of the planes on 10 occasions due to problems with the engines, fuel systems and brakes. The problem, the Air Force believed, was in the fuel-to-air ratio. When the pilot throttled back, the engine would quit, causing the plane to crash. AEDC engineers offered to help isolate the problems by deriving low-rpm mixture ratio from exhaust gas emissions measurements on the T-3As. The project's scope included the quantification of the engine mixture ratio over the range of throttle setting and ambient temperature conditions expected during a typical T-3A flight. Engineers surveyed aircraft located at Waco, Texas, Hondo, Texas and at the Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.

So, while it is in widespread use as a 200 HP trainer, there are apparently several problems with the 260 HP version.
After being grounded for 2 years, they dumped the plane from their inventory.
 

hindsight2020

Yeah Buddy
Joined
Oct 14, 2004
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Total Time
23:41Z
Right, that was among the sources I came across with on my search. It seems the the 260HP version was tinkered with to the Air Force's delight, and they had a lot of problems with those mods, primarily with vapor lock due to modificatons to the fuel lines and intake system. Further, nobody seems to be one bit concerned with the Fireflies up in the UK, and they seem to be very common up there. So from an acro point of view, there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the aircraft, and the AFA accidents do not reflect a problem indicative of "Traumahawk" style aerodynmic deficiencies in the spin recovery.

Problem is I haven't seen much of them over here in the States; I wonder if it's an airframe that I would have to import, and I'm unsure of their market price nowadays. I am also aware there are older models that run the 160HP engine and have a fixed prop (T67B and T67C), which I would keep in consideration if the M200/260 models (200HP c/s prop and 260HP c/s respectively) turn out to be out of budget.

The digging continues....
 
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sky37d

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