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Barrels of fun at the Schenectady County airport

Kirk Orrick was flying high even after he returned to the ground.

It was cool, said Orrick, of Duanesburg, following his hour-long instructional flight in a 1941 AT-6, a World War II training plane.

Sweat covered Orrick's brow after an hour of aerobatic flight, which began at the Schenectady County Airport and wound its way along the Mohawk River before returning to the runway.

With the aid of certified flight instructor and owner of Bluegrass Warbirds, Gina Moore, Orrick completed barrel rolls, loops and cloverleaf maneuvers at about 5,000 feet.

Moore and her vintage warbird will be in residence at the Empire State Aeroscience Museum at the county airport through Sunday, June 22.

A ten-minute, straight and level flight without aerobatics runs $230. Orrick's hour long "Ultimate SkyVenture," with unlimited aerobatic maneuvers cost him $700.

No flying experience is needed to participate.

An amateur aviator, Orrick said he hadn't flown a plane in more than six years. He said he used to own a small Cessna, but couldn't believe the power of the AT-6's roaring 600-horsepower radial engine.

"At one point, we were up there and had to maneuver away from a Cessna," said Orrick. "We just blew right past it."

A graduate of Middle Tennessee State's aviation program, Moore said she grew up flying vintage aircraft. She acquired the AT-6 about nine years ago when she decided she wanted to start her own barnstorming company. Traditionally, barnstormers travel from town to town offering rides to willing customers.

The AT-6 (or Advanced Trainer-6) was one of the most widely used trainer aircraft for Allied pilots who flew in World War II. It was designed to train pilots who were transitioning from the basic trainer to first-line tactical aircraft or fighter planes.

Moore's AT-6 also flew in the Korean War, where it was used as a forward air controller. An observer occupied the rear seat, and the aircraft was equipped with smoke rockets that were used to mark enemy targets for bombers.

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