Two Beechcraft T-6C Texan II turboprop trainer aircraft, which were delivered to the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana (FAC, Colombian Air Force) in May, have been formally inducted into operational service and will begin replacing the air arm’s Cessna T-37Bs in the training role.
The aircraft – serials FAC2350 and FAC2351 – were formally inducted into Colombian service during a ceremony at Comando Aéreo de Combate No 1 (CACOM 1, Combat Air Command No 1) Base Aérea Militar 2 (Military Air Base 2) in Palanquero, Puerto Salgar, on July 11. In FAC service, the newly inducted T-6Cs will be employed in a training role, where they will replace the air force’s 13-strong fleet of T-37Bs, which are operated by Grupo de Combate 11 (GRUCO 11, Combat Group 11)/Escuadrón de Combate 116 (Combat Squadron 116).
Various high-ranking officials were present for the event, including Colombia’s Minister of National Defense, Diego Molano Aponte, and the commander of the FAC, Gen Ramsés Rueda Rueda. Delivery of the new Texan IIs will allow the FAC to ground its T-37B fleet, ending more than 50 years of operations with the type.
The two new aircraft – FAC2350 wearing the temporary US civil registration N2878B and FAC2351 wearing N2804B – had left the factory in Wichita, Kansas, on their delivery flight on May 4. FAC2350 arrived in Bogotá, the capital city of Colombia, on May 8, while FAC2351 experienced a delay but finally arrived in-country on May 13.
At the induction ceremony, Gen Ramsés Rueda Rueda said: “The country needs a modern air force for its defence, it needs well-trained and qualified pilots to have in their hands the best tool for the defence of national sovereignty. Today, we give these young Colombian pilots the best aircraft to train who will be the pilots who will integrate and develop the air force of the future.”