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Watch These Steely T-6 Pilots Water Ski Their Plane Across a Lake

 waterski

Can a World War II-era training aircraft water ski? Just watch and you’ll find out.

At first glance, the assignment labeled “T-6 Texan (WWII plane) water skiing caused this writer to think, “Hmmmm, guess someone took the fuselage of a T-6 and converted it to be pulled behind a boat as a skiing craft for a dozen or so people.”

Wrong … again.

The North American T-6 Texan has been around since World War II when it was developed as a single-engine training aircraft. It was used by the U.S. Army Air Corps, the Navy and was used in England where it was called the Harvard. It remains a popular warbird that is used for airshows and static displays.

Air & Space Magazine calls the T-6 “the best-build airplane there ever was.” Those who have flown it agree. The aircraft has a cult following.

It’s understandable why the T-6 was mass-produced as a training plane during WWII. It’s a great plane to fly, with plenty of power but it demands that its pilot understand “how” to fly and control the plane (especially on the ground, where it will ground loop quicker than a hiccup).

But the water skiing? Check out this video. With gear down, this squadron was cleared for a “wet” landing. Skimming this calm lake waters with the gear down, they appear to be skiing. Precision flying at its best. And credit the the Eqstra Flying Lions, a formation aerobatic team in South Africa, for perfecting this water-skiing trick.

Written by Wendell Barnhouse

Wendell Barnhouse is a veteran journalist with over 40 years of experience as a writer and an editor. For the last 30 years, he wrote about college sports but he has had an interest and curiosity about aviation since he was in grade school.

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