In Which I Become a T-53A Pilot (Without Trying)

By James Fallows

It appears that the U.S. Air Force Academy has decided to purchase a bunch of Cirrus SR20 airplanes for its flight training fleet, where they will be designated as T-53As. Here, via Cirrus, is an SR20 all dressed up as an Air Force trainer:

T53A.jpg


I bought an SR20 in 2000 and flew it extensively until 2006, when I sold it before moving to China. (On return last year, I bought a four-year-old SR22, big brother of the SR20 -- looks the same but is faster and can carry more.) So if any cadets are looking for T-53A flying tips, I will generously oblige.

Or, if they want to talk Sinology of any sort, happy to join in too. After all, the deal by which Cirrus was sold to China's main aerospace company has just gone through. Good to see this new step in Sino-American partnership: America's future airmen and airwomen being trained in a now Chinese-owned plane, known locally as the 西锐, or Xirui ("Cirrus"). 快乐飞行, men and women of the Air Force! Happy flying to you.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/07/in-which-i-become-a-t-53a-pilot-without-trying/241454/