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Aircraft Model: T-28 (Herb & Ditto)
Aircraft Type: Trainer (Warbird)
Fly During Show: Yes
Display Open To Public: No
Web Site: www.herb-ditto.com
T-28 (Herb & Ditto)

The Aircraft (Ditto):

Is a former NAVY aircraft carrier trainer debuted in the air show business in 1998 after Herb and his crew completed a detailed 4-year restoration that won the Best T-28 Award at Oshkosh in 1996. Taking a "basket case" T-28 and making her better than new was the challenge Herb and his crew took on to make her one of the five best T-28 restorations in the country. That challenge included disassembling every nut and bolt, cleaning, inspecting, repairing and overhauling every component, fabricating and installing completely new wiring and electronics harness, new hydraulic lines, incorporating modern solid-state electronics and other improvements; all the while keeping the original look! The custom wing-tip smoke system that Herb designed and installed in 2004 to enhance his performance has created much more fan excitement than he ever anticipated.

Ditto continues to get special treatment from Herb, an accomplished aircraft mechanic who does all the maintenance himself. Herb is a graduate of the Aircraft Maintenance Engineering School at Parks College, St Louis University.

The T-28 was used by all military services in some capacity, but most extensively by the NAVY as a trainer in the 50's through the 80's. Four models of T-28 aircraft were built.

The A model used by the U.S. Air Force had an 800 hp engine. The NAVY's B and C models with a 1425 hp engine were used for jet transition, instrument training and aircraft carrier qualification training.

T-28s normally cruise at 200-260 mph with a redline speed of 400 mph and burn 55 gallons of gas per hour. They are equipped with a oxygen system and are able to fly as high as 35,000 feet. Their 1,425 hp 9-cylinder radial engine has a very distinctive rumbling sound.

Modified for ground attack fighter-bombers, D models fitted with armament and extraction seats were very successfully flown by the CIA's covert Air America and Ravens pilots and the air forces of South Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand during the Vietnam war. The D-10 model weighed up to 12,800 pounds.

The NAVY accepted "Ditto," one of the 397 T28Cs built by North American Aviation, on May 16, 1957. The plane served with VT-3 & VT-27 in the Gulf of Mexico on two carries, the Antietam and the Lexington, which sailed training cruises between Pensacola, FL., and Corpus Christi, TX., until the late 1970's.

She was purchased as a basket case and required 16,000 man-hours to restore her from 1992 — 1996. She won best T-28 award at the Oshkosh convention. Ditto is the only T-28C performing full-time professional aerobatics in airshows. Her new wing-tip vortex smoke system is the only one in the world, shown performing "Smoke-Ring Aerobatics."

The Pilot (Herb):

Herb Baker is a full-time air show performer out of West Bend, Wis. His interest in aviation was sparked at Saturday picture-show newsreels of World War II planes "peeling off" and his relatives returning from the war.

Herb has never considered being a airshow performer until he was invited to put Ditto on static display at an airshow in 1997. The airshow bug bit! He taught himself aerobatics, got certified for a low level waiver and flew his first show in 1998. To date Herb has performed over 300+ times at 100+ venues in 13 years. He never missed a performance in the first 10 years.

To keep fit for the pilot and mechanic responsibilities he has continued his college competitive swim habits regularly at the local YMCA about 70 miles per year.

Herb, who has been flying since 1960, has accumulated over 3,100 flight hours, including 850 hours in T-28 aerobatic or formation flying. His ratings include Certified Flight Instructor, Multi-engine Land.

Herb is a graduate of the Aircraft Maintenance Engineering School at Parks College, St Louis University. He and his crew of four completed a 30,000 man-hour restoration on Ditto in 1996 and he continues to do all of the maintenance on Ditto himself.

Two recent highlights in his career include being a guest instructor at the both the US NAVY and the USAF Test Pilot Schools, teaching the students to fly the T-28.

Herb of Herb & Ditto

Information and photo courtesy of the Herb & Ditto website

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