NAS Pensacola hosts Training Wing Six ‘Show Bird’
Story by Gregory Mitchell on 08/29/2019
NAVAL AIR STATION PENSACOLA, Fla. Artwork comes in many forms. In terms of painting, it is usually done on an art canvas or even as a mural on a wall. One common form of artwork within the military is presented in the form of “show bird” painting. Commander, Training Air Wing Six (CTW-6) recently completed the painting of one of its T-45C Goshawk aircraft, in turn naming its very own version command show bird.
“The paint scheme was created as a symbol of the command’s long-storied connection with Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola and the local community,” said Lt.j.g. William Flournoy, CTW-6 collateral duty public affairs officer.
Show bird origins can be connected to nose art on military aircraft, dating as far back as World War I. Italy and Germany are credited as the first countries to apply such paint schemes, with the United States eventually following suit as well. While World War I nose art was usually embellished or extravagant squadron insignia, true nose art appeared during World War II, which is considered by many observers to be the golden age of the genre, with both Axis and Allied pilots taking part.
Entering U.S. naval service in 1992, the McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) T-45 Goshawk is a highly modified version of the British Aerospace (BAE Systems) Hawk land-based training jet aircraft that serves as an aircraft carrier-capable trainer.
The Goshawk has a unique training feature in the Virtual Mission Training System (VMTS), which simulates the capabilities of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet’s Raytheon APG-73 radar. This includes ground mapping, air-to-ground and air-to-air targeting modes, along with an electronic warfare training capability, all of which are used to prepare weapon system and electronic warfare operators for the Super Hornet.
The constructive preparation phase of the aircraft consisted of four months of stripping, sanding, priming and painting, to include weighing to insure the aircraft falls within the proper parameters of safe flight operation. The squadrons’ standard aircraft come with a red and white color scheme. The show bird is predominately white with bold navy blue and gold stripes, a “Don’t Tread on Me” logo port and starboard fuselage, a blue tail section that includes the “Don’t Tread on Me” snake, and a squadron “F” with white stars.
“The aircraft left Pensacola as aircraft 615, but returned as aircraft 600 to signify it will be flown by the commodore,” said Flournoy. “Double 00′ generally signifies that the aircraft will be flown by the commanding officer.”
A second show bird designated as a squadron show bird’ is scheduled to arrive in September of this year.
Headquartered in the “Cradle of Naval Aviation” onboard NAS Pensacola, CTW-6 is responsible for all Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA) Naval Flight Officer (NFO) training and production. CTW-6 graduates about 300 U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and international students annually. Their mission is to safely train the world’s finest combat quality NFOs, committed to global security and prosperity, while projecting Naval Air Power worldwide.