North American AT-6 Texan

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North American AT-6 Texan
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The North American T-6 Texan, played two distinctively different roles in Air Force history. It was one of the most widely and best-known trainers used in World War II. In the Korean War, the Texan became a combat aircraft, marking enemy positions, and was dubbed the Mosquito. Because of its slow speed in a jet-age war, few were lost to enemy action. The Texan following and displayed at the USAF Museum was received from the Pennsylvania Air National Guard.

The North American Aviation T-6 Texan was a single-engine advanced trainer aircraft used to train pilots of the United States Army Air Forces, United States Navy, Royal Air Force and other air forces of the British Commonwealth during World War II and into the 1950s. Designed by North American Aviation, the T-6 is known by a variety of designations depending on the model and operating air force. The USAAC designated it as the "AT-6", the US Navy the "SNJ", and British Commonwealth air forces, the Harvard, the name it is best known by outside of the United States. It remains a popular warbird aircraft.
--Excerpt from Wikipedia - The FREE Internet Encylopia.

This Aircraft is currently in Storage off public display The AT-6 advanced trainer was one of the most widely used aircraft in history. Evolving from the BC-1 basic combat trainer ordered in 1937, 15,495 Texans were built between 1938 and 1945. The USAAF procured 10,057 AT-6s; others went to the Navy as SNJs and to more than 30 Allied nations. Most AAF fighter pilots trained in AT-6s prior to graduation from flying school. Many of the "Spitfire" and "Hurricane" pilots in the Battle of Britain trained in Canada in "Harvards," the British version of the AT-6. To comply with neutrality laws, U.S. built Harvards were flown north to the border and were pushed across.

In 1948, Texans still in USAF service were redesignated as T-6s when the AT, BT and PT aircraft designations were abandoned. To meet an urgent need for close air support of ground forces in the Korean Conflict, T-6s flew "mosquito missions" spotting enemy troops and guns and marking them with smoke rockets for attack by fighter-bombers.

The aircraft on display is one of 1,802 T-6s remanufactured under a 1949 USAF modernization program, redesignated as T-6Gs, and given new serial numbers. It was acquired from the Pennsylvania Air National Guard in 1957 and is painted as an AT-6 based at Randolph Field, Texas in 1942.

Span: 42 ft.
Length: 29 ft. 6 in.
Height: 10 ft. 10 in.
Weight: 5,617 lbs. loaded
Armament: None (some AT-6s used for gunnery/bombing training)
Engine: Pratt & Whitney R-1340 of 600 hp.
Cost: $27,000

Maximum speed: 210 mph.
Cruising speed: 145 mph.
Range: 770 miles
Service Ceiling: 23,200 ft.

-- USAF Museum Info

The following items are found in my 'today-in-history' bulletin for April 1, 2004...
    In 1935, first flight of the North American NA-16, the prototype of the AT-6 Texan and BC-1 trainer, at Dundalk, Maryland. ...     In 1939, the prototype for the Mitsubishi A6M1 Reisen, or Zero Fighter (Allied code name "Zeke") makes its first flight at Kagamigahara, Japan.

It occurred to me that the use of the Texan in today's air shows cooincides with the rebuilding of some into World War II Japanese air forces look-a-likes. Check out the Mitsubishi A6M Zero. One wonders how many aircraft designs were 'borrowed' by other countries from American prototypes. Any of your comments will be appreciated in the IRBFlying Forum....
I'll never forget a sign I seen on a wall when I was in the navy. It stated, "The war depends on the end we use, heads we win, tails we lose" and these few words have a powerful lesson and meaning. I enjoyed my time in the navy. I went to school and learned the Aviation Metalsmith trade. When pilots sometimes crashed a fighter plane and damaged metal work, it was my job to repair and restore the metal parts to look as good as new. Repairing the tip of aircraft wings was common. As dangerous as it sounds, pilots play in the air. They will position their right wing tip under a fellow pilots left wing tip then do a quick roll that scares hell out of the other pilot. As is said, "boys will be boys" and this is an example. I flew only once with a pilot in an SNJ plane. A pilot often flew an SNJ to familiarize themselves with the area and the pilot I flew with thought of his antics as having fun. He did dives, rolls and put the plane in a climb that caused the plane to shake and I learned later that it almost stalled and I was ready to bail out since i had on a parachute. By the time he got through wringing me out I was as sick as a dog. That was the only time I was ever in a navy plane. Now I like to have at least one foot on the ground.
--Excerpted from an email of Frank "Grandpa" Schober.

January 31, 2011
Aircraft Locator For The North American AT-6 Texan
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