Douglas A/B-26 Invader

Hans Dieter Sinanan - Display pilot

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It's something that all aviation enthusiasts should experience, the thrill of a flight in a true warbird and legend.
The Harvard, its pedigree and its persona represent everything that is true about a warbird.
From the smell of that 1943 cockpit, where hundreds of young fighter pilots undertook their flight training to the rush of adrenalin when the Pratt & Whitney Wasp erupts into life and the blast of exhaust gas rushes past your cheek, I dare anyone who says that the hairs on the back of their neck don't stand on end when you realize that as you sit there strapped in to your seat, you are off on an amazing adventure.
Taxiing out to the grass runway, you drift into a kind of boyhood trance and imagine yourself as a Battle of Britain fighter pilot, off on a sortie over the south coast to intercept a group of invading enemy fighters.
As you line up on the runway Dieter asks you if you are ok and strapped in tight, you wave your ground crew farewell and slide the canopy shut. The throttle by your left knee moves forward and you're off.
Your head is suddenly pushed back as the aircraft accelerates and the noise of the mighty radial fills the cockpit with a deafening roar.
The tail lifts in no time at all and as you race down the grass strip amid the noise and dust, without warning you're airborne.
Wheels up and you're heading towards the south coast to duel with the enemy.
At 4000 feet the plane levels off and the engine is throttled back to cruise.
The roar of the engine strangely disappears and as you look around, you are suddenly in formation with a dozen Spitfires.
Your wingman gives you a wave and your plane pulls up and into a wing over. As it dives to pick up speed, up comes the nose and you're inverted at the top of a loop followed by a barrel roll to evade the fighter that has just positioned himself on your tail. 
People on the ground look up, children in awe and the elderly in remembrance of a sound they forgot some sixty years prior.
You know you're in a warbird because of the circular control stick, used in Spitfires and Hurricanes and the Perspex canopy that surrounds you.
As the stick moves about to the pilots command you want to grab hold and take your ride up into the clouds to dance among the white cotton cumulus, the recollection of an eagle soaring on the wing comes to mind and you feel that nothing you experience in life after that day will match the euphoria of those moments banking and diving in your own fighter aircraft.
If you ask the question, Dieter might very well let you take control and once you have the beast by the throat, you slowly pull back on the horns and feel the g-force push you into your seat as you climb high into the sky and watch the ground fall away.
For some instinctive reason you look around for your wing man, but your on your own, don't forget what your Squadron leader told you before taking off.........make sure the sun is at your back and never, never keep the wings level for more than thirty seconds at a time.
You are in the front seat now, as Dieter has strangely disappeared and you patrol the skies in search of any enemy that feels brave enough to match your skills in combat.
..........Suddenly over the R/T, Dieter informs you that its time to return to base and you awake form your trance and again in the rear cockpit. 
The Sussex Downs passes beneath you as it did for hundreds of WWII pilots on their way back from a mission.
In a low curved fast approach you round the tower at 1000 feet and Dieter brings the nose up into a perfect victory roll to celebrate your kill.
You feel satisfied that you have experienced what it was like all those years ago when pilots protected our skies form the Nazi threat.
You un strap and climb from your aircraft, relieved, exhausted, sweating and almost glad to be down, almost.
........But it has been a bit of fun without the anguish and terror the young pilot officers, some just nineteen, had to endure in 1940, just to stay alive.
You can only imagine how it was for them and probably then .....not even come close.
If there is one thing to do before you die, it is to experience to total an unadulterated exhilaration of a flight in a warbird.
I can only promise you one thing, that your cheeks will ache for a week, as the smile on your face gradually goes away........and you will be back.
So contact Dieter via this site as soon as you can and don't forget that old flying jacket you wear when your down the pub or out in the Morgan, because after you wear it on your sortie over the Sussex Downs you will always give a chuckle later on, when someone down the pub asks you if you've shot down any Messerschmitts lately..........