Interview – HAF T-6 Demo Team

First of all thank you for your time, please introduce yourself to our readers, your rank, from which squadron you are from and what type you have flown in the Hellenic Air Force?

Since in a team there is no room for individuals, you have to spend some more time to be introduced to all of us. Major Chatzigeorgos, Cpt Dimitriou, Pechlivanis and Sarakis and Lt Didis and Stavrinos form the team, and we are part of 361 and 364ATS of 120ATW. Most of us have more than 1000 flight hours on current type and previously have flown with A-7E Corsairs or RF-4 Phantoms. For further info please have a look at our website (https://www.haf.gr/demoteams/en/t6-daedalus/).

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Tell us about the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II you are flying as the Demo Team. Is it easy to perform the program with the T-6?

Grasping the opportunity, what must be underlined is that flying with the T-6 makes us the only display team of this particular type worldwide. A highly demanding and skillful profile (of -3,5 to +7 G, airspeed of up to 300 KIAS and 20ft low passes) is presented to the public. Pros are to be considered high maneuverability and engine performance; on the other hand, propeller-related flying characteristics is a con.

The HAF T-6Α “Daedalus” Demo Team is not well known outside of Greece, please introduce the team to our readers

The team was established in 2005 and trained by USAF’s West & East Coast Demo Teams. Since then, it has performed in numerous events annually. Running the 11th consecutive display season in 2016 makes us the longest ever lived display team through HAF history! “Daedalus” is enhancing the morale of the Hellenic Armed Forces, while, at the same time, it is projecting the work of the Hellenic Air Force to the wide public.

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How many people are there in the Team?

There is a need for a pilot, a safety observer, a narrator, film crew and and ground crew for us to display. Apart from demo pilots, all the other members have an assigned main role but are, also, always ready to perform secondary duties in case needed. Team has, at the moment being, 6 pilots and 9 aircraft engineers. We have the capability to split in half and perform in different sites simultaneously, as we have successfully done in the past years.

Why the name “Daedalus”?

Inspired by Greek mythology, the team is named after Daedalus, who was the father of Icarus. The word originated from the word “δαιδάλλω”, meaning “to work artfully”. So, performing a display is, nonetheless, a work of aerial art. Additionally, the team consists of instructor pilots who, like modern Daedalus, pass on their experience, and “give wings” to their student pilots.

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Last year the Team received a new paint scheme for one of the T-6Α. For which occasion did this happen?

Last season was our 10th anniversary; so the specially painted aircraft was a way for us to pinpoint our achievement.

Looking at the photos, it seems there is a bird painted under the plane and the Hellenic flag colors were used as well. Could you tell us what does it symbolise?

The upper part of the aircraft depicts a huge waiving Greek flag. The design under the fuselage is based on the Icarus flight close to the sun, according to Greek mythology. Moreover, two of his inventions are displayed on the tail section, the caliper and the maze.

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Who made the paint? Did the team decided about the end result?

Paint made by specialists from our mother base supervised by a colleague of ours. A group of people, among them team members, a graphic designer who support us and our commander have brainstormed in order to end up to a good looking result.

On which occasions the Team usually perform?

Annually, Team performs during HAF Open Days every November and, so far, has attended all the domestic airshows (Archangel, Athens Flying Week). Kavala Air Sea Show).

Last year the Team performed at Malta. Was it the first time outside of Greece? Is there a plan this year to go abroad again?

We can’t disclose the agenda yet as it needs to get approval at all levels first. Moreover, we are still receiving requests so the schedule is “under construction”

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Where do you train?

Daedalus is under 120 Air Training Wing in Kalamata AFB and, thus, the team is being trained exclusively under the favorable weather conditions of southern Greece.

When not flying as the “Daedalus” Demo Team, what do you do?

We train both HAF and ITAF cadets for the Phase I & II (Initial and Basic Phase respectively).

Any great memory from the past, a fun airshow, a good feedback?

Every handshake is a reward for us. Moreover, all team members are equally regarded. We strive to keep an excellent mood amongst us. Apart from granted professionalism on what we are doing, we are enjoying ourselves in each show; something that is obvious to everyone.

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If you could choose an airshow, open day, or memory flight, what would you choose to perform as the “Daedalus” Demo Team?

Although we haven’t faced such dilemmas so far, we think there is no preference. The more we fly, the happier we feel, and thus, the more pleased the crowd will be.

Anything new the fans can see you this year?

Under future planning are smoke system and synchro display profile and, of course, Daedalus is about to promise more spectacular following seasons, even perhaps, the upcoming one.

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