North American Aviation's "Texan" was one of the most important aircraft to be developed during the 1930's. As an advanced trainer it featured retractable landing gear, increased power and more sophisticated control surfaces, as well as .30 caliber machine guns and bomb rack fittings.
The T-6 originated from the North American NA-16 prototype (first flown on April 1, 1935) which, modified as the NA-26, was submitted as an entry for a USAAC "Basic Combat" aircraft competition in March, 1937. The first model went in to production and 180 were supplied to the USAAC as the BC-1 and 400 to the RAF as the Harvard I. The US Navy received 16 modified aircraft, designated the SNJ-1, and a further 61 as the SNJ-2 with a different engine.
During its career, the SNJ (USN), AT-6 (US Army), Harvard (Commonwealth), or "J-Bird" served as a trainer for instrument flight, aerobatics, bombing and gunnery. It was also equipped with a tail hook as an aircraft for carrier qualification. As of 1940, the required flight hours for combat pilots earning their wings had been cut to just 200 during a shortened training period of seven months. Of those hours, 75 were logged in the AT-6.
In service for the United States for more than 20 years, the Texan was also used in combat zones, primarily in photgraphy, scouting, and utility roles, with extensive use in Korea as a spotter aircraft.
Several nations have employed the Texan as a fighter and bomber. In fact, a Mexican AT- is credited with sinking a submarine during World War II. Israel, France, Cambodia, and South Africa continued using the Texan as a combat aircraft into the 1960's.
Fifty years after its introduction, fourteen countries still employed the Texan in some capacity. with its use in combat documented as recently as 1980.
Operators included: Argentina, Australia (Wirraway), Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, China, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, France, Gabon, Honduras, Israel, Italy, Japan, Katanga Province, Mexico, Netherlands, Mozambique, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Portugal, South Africa, Germany, Sweden, Tunisia, United Kingdom (Royal Air Force, Royal Navy), United States (Army Air Corps, Army Air Force, Air Force, Navy), Uruguay, Venezuela, Zaire, and Yugoslavia.
Texan production totaled 15,495 of all variants. Surplused in great numbers after the war, and for prices as low as a few hundred dollars, the Texan has proven one of the more durable and popular warbird aircraft in the air, with more than 400 still airworthy in the United States alone.
The Mid-Atlantic Air Museum's Texan was built in 1943 and became the third aircraft to join the collection when it was donated in 1982.
Pratt and Whitney R-1340-AN-1 Wasp Radial Engine
of 600 HP
Wing Span: 42 Feet, 1/4 Inch
Wing Area: 253.7 Sq. Ft.
Length: 28 Feet, 11 7/8 Inches
Height: 11 Feet, 8 1/2 Inches
Empty Weight: 4,158 lbs
Loaded Weight: 5,617 lbs
Normal Cruising Speed: 150 MPH
Maximum Speed: 208 MPH
Normal Crew: 2 Pilots
Armament: Up to Four .30 Caliber Machine Guns
Bomb Load: Four 100 lb Bombs
Range: 730 Miles
Service Ceiling: 24,200 Feet
Stall Speed: 60 MPH
Crew: Two (Student and Instructor Pilots)
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