2nd Lt. Jacob Hempen exits the T-6B Texan II he flew for his solo flight. It was the first solo for Training Squadron 6 in the T-6B Texan II as the squadron transitions to the plane from the older T-34 Turbo Mentor. / Navy photo by Ensign Jenna Bordash
A flight training squadron at Whiting Field recently soloed its first student pilot in the base’s new T-6B Texan II training aircraft.
Flight student 2nd Lt. Jacob Hempen successfully flew a short “solo” flight in a Texan II on Monday, marking the first time a Training Squadron 6 student flew the aircraft without an instructor onboard.
“We’ve come a long way from the start of the program,” Cmdr. David Humphreys, Training Wing 5 standardization officer said.
The T-6B Texan II is replacing the T-34 Turbo Mentor, which served as Whiting's primary flight trainer for more than 30 years. The T-6B is faster, stronger and more efficient than the T-34. It features an updated cockpit with modern avionics, air conditioning and an ejection seat.
Training Squadron 6 is the second squadron at Whiting Field to successfully solo a student in a Texan II. Training Squadron 3 completed the transition to the Texan II in 2010.