Turbine Training Center Blog for Cessna 208 Caravan & Beechcraft King Air pilots
To many pilots, Recurrent Training is something to be avoided almost as much as the dentist. Their theory is, it seems, “I’ve been flying nigh on to 40 year, what does some wet-behind-the-ears instructor think they’re gonna teach me?” Well - - would you want to go to a doctor who has done no Recurrent Training for forty years? And, when it comes to RECURRENT TRAINING AND TURBINE TRAINING CENTER, Inc. you probably are not going to find someone doing the training that is “wet-behind-the-ears!”
“I guess I’ve been in a cockpit since JFK was in the White House,” Dale Wolcott, President of TURBINE TRAINING in Manhattan, Kansas shared with a chuckle in his voice. “And, the changes that have occurred in Aviation in that amount of time would fill more than one book!”
Anyone who is involved with Aviation, either as their vocation or avocation, knows that the plight of Aviation Manufactures, either of complete aircraft or various “parts,” is not always “smooth sailing.” This is, perhaps, never better reflected than by tracing the development of the ALLISON GAS TURBINE ENGINE.
It all started with James Allison. In 1917 Allison volunteered to turn a portion of his company’s production output to help supply military hardware. For the next four decades the company competed in the military realm in both Britain and the U.S. In 1940, ALLISON sort of “snuck in through the back door” as, while they were not awarded a contract directly, they sub-contracted with GENERAL ELECTRIC to work on jet engines. In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, ALLISON teamed with ROLLS ROYCE, creating the TF41. The now “joint-journey” continued to be tumultuous, but the end result was an excellent gas turbine engine.
“If at first you don’t succeed, patch up the fuselage and have another go at it.”
Now - - we aren’t exactly sure Clyde Cessna actually uttered those words, but he certainly would have had ample opportunity before he made a successful flight! After attending an air show in Oklahoma City, Cessna, a farmer/mechanic, went to New York to purchase an aircraft so he could make “big bucks” as an exhibition barnstormer. Well, he came home with a French Bleriot aircraft kit and, after putting it together, set off for the wild blue yonder. He didn’t make it. After recording one of the first successful “nose dives” in the state of Kansas, he repaired the plane and tried again. And again. And again. And again. In fact, it wasn’t until the thirteenth try that he actually got airborne. Perseverance paid off, and, eventually, he became a passable pilot. What he became much more noted for, however, was the aircraft that he developed and built!
As one might expect, the evolution of the King Air Aircraft began with the creation of the BEECH AIRCRAFT CORPORATION. In 1932, Walter H. and Olive Ann Beech founded the company, with their first aircraft being the Model 17 Staggerwing. The intent of the craft was to meet the needs of business travelers, and the craft was so well constructed that it was actually quicker than many of the military pursuit planes of the day. In 1937 the Twin Beech, Model 18, was introduced. It was produced for thirty-three years, and was immediately recognized as a boon to the business-traveling world.
There are few things that will make a young man’s heart palpitate and cast his mind into an elongated daydream more than having a fighter jet scream over his head so close he can read the call letters with the naked eye! And, since 1986, the name that immediately jumps into that young man’s head is “Maverick!” You remember Maverick – the Tom Cruise character from TOP GUN? What many people don’t realize, however, is that the first “Mavericks” of the Aviation World were none other than Ag Pilots! And, as head of one of the leading Turbine Training Centers in the world, located in Manhattan, Kansas, Dale Wolcott has done his share of Crop Dusting!
What is the biggest challenge you have ever faced? Welllllll, Dick Guthrie, Engineering Manager of PRATT& WHITNEY CANADA got an interesting challenge dropped in his lap back in 1956. PWC’s then President, Ronald Riley, gave him the task of putting together a group to develop a plan for creating a turboprop engine that would replace piston engines. With only $100,000 Canadian money at his disposal, he grabbed the bull by the horns and started to put together his team. Recruiting engineers from the ranks of the National Research Council in Ottawa and ORENDA ENGINES in Ontario, Guthrie began an odyssey that would result in the creation of the PWC PT6, a fact for which TURBINE TRAINING CENTER, Inc. in Manhattan, Kansas, is most grateful.