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Airwar.ru Scratch Built AT-6 Texan

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Airwar.ru Scratch Built AT-6 Texan
Wing Span: 90"
Scale: 1/6

[IMAGE The North American T-6 Texan was a single-engine advanced trainer aircraft used to train fighter 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. 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 North America. It remains a popular warbird aircraft.

The Texan 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.

A further 92 BC-1A and three BC-2 aircraft were built before the shift to the "advanced trainer" designation, AT-6, which was equivalent to the BC-1A. The differences between the AT-6 and the BC-1 were new outer wing panels with a swept forward trailing edge, squared-off wingtips and a triangular rudder, producing the definitive Texan appearance. After a change to the rear of the canopy, the AT-6 was designated the Harvard II for RAF/RCAF orders and 1,173 were supplied by purchase or Lend Lease, mostly operating in Canada as part of the Empire Air Training Scheme.

Next came the AT-6A which was based on the NA-77 design and was powered by the Pratt & Whitney R-1340-49 Wasp radial engine. The USAAF received 1,549 and the US Navy 270 (as the SNJ-3). The AT-6B was built for gunnery training and could mount a .30 in machine gun on the forward fuselage. It utilised the R-1340-AN-1 engine which was to become the standard for the remaining T-6 production. Canada's Noorduyn Aviation built a R-1340-AN-1 powered version of the AT-6A which was supplied to the USAAF as the AT-16 (1,500 aircraft) and the RAF/RCAF as the Harvard IIB (2,485 aircraft), some of which also served with the Fleet Air Arm and Royal Canadian Navy.

In late 1937 Mitsubushi purchased two NA-16's as technology demonstrators and possibly a licence to build more. However the aircraft developed by Watanabe/Kyushu as the K10W1 (Allied code name Oak) bore no more than a superficial resemblance to the North American design. It featured a full monocoque fuselage as opposed to the steel tube fuselage of the T-6 and NA-16 family of aircraft, as well as being of smaller dimensions overall and had no design details in common with the T-6. It was used in very small numbers by the Imperial Japanese Navy from 1942 onwards. The IJA did not operate any, as they had other aircraft that they used for training. After the war the Japanese Air Self Defense Force operated Texans.

The NA-88 design resulted in 2,970 AT-6C Texans and 2,400 as the SNJ-4. The RAF received 726 of the AT-6C as the Harvard IIA. Modifications to the electrical system produced the AT-6D (3,713 produced) and SNJ-5 (1,357 produced). The AT-6D, redesignated the Harvard III, was supplied to the RAF (351 aircraft) and Fleet Air Arm (564 aircraft). Subsequently the NA-121 design with a completely clear rearmost section on the canopy, gave rise to 25 AT-6F Texans for the USAAF and 931, as the SNJ-6 for the US Navy. The ultimate version, the Harvard 4, was produced by Canada Car and Foundry during the 1950s, and supplied to the RCAF, USAF and Bundeswehr.

A total of 15,495 T-6s of all variants were built.

[IMAGE During the Korean War and to a lesser extent, the Vietnam war, T-6s were pressed into service as forward air control aircraft. These aircraft were designated T-6 "Mosquito"s.[1] The RAF used the Harvard in Kenya against the Mau Mau in the 1950s where they operated with 20 lb bombs and machine guns against the gangs. Some operations took place at altitudes around 20,000 ft asl. A Harvard was the longest-serving RAF aeroplane, with an example, taken on strength in 1945, still serving in the 1990s (as a chase plane for helicopter test flights - a role the Shorts Tucano's high stall speed was ill-suited for). The T-6G was also used in a light attack or counter insurgency role by France during the Algerian war in special Escadrilles d'Aviation Légère d'Appui (EALA), armed with machine guns, bombs and rockets. At its peak there were 38 EALA's active. The largest unit was the Groupe d'Aviation Légère d'Appui 72, which consisted of up to 21 EALAs. Portugal also used ex-French aircraft during the Portuguese Colonial War.

Since the Second World War, the T-6 has been a regular participant at air shows, and was used in many movies. For example, in Tora! Tora! Tora! and The Final Countdown, converted single-seat T-6s painted in Japanese markings represent Mitsubishi Zeroes. The New Zealand Warbirds "Roaring 40s" aerobatic team use ex-Royal New Zealand Air Force Harvards. The Reno National Air Races also has a class specifically for the T-6 during the National Air Races each year.

The North American T-6 Texan was known as "the pilot maker" because of its important role in preparing pilots for combat. Derived from the 1935 North American NA-16 prototype, a cantilever low-wing monoplane, the Texan filled the need for a basic combat trainer during WW II and beyond. The original order of 94 AT-6 Texans differed little from subsequent versions such as the AT-6A (1,847) which revised the fuel tanks or the AT-6D (4,388) and AT-6F (956) that strengthened as well as lightened the frame with the use of light alloys. In all, more than 17,000 airframes were designed to the Texan standards.

North American's rapid production of the T-6 Texan coincided with the wartime expansion of the United States air war commitment. As of 1940, the required flights 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.

U.S. Navy pilots flew the airplane extensively, under the SNJ designation, the most common of these being the SNJ-4, SNJ-5 and SNJ-6.

[IMAGE British interest in the Texan design was piqued as early as 1938 when it ordered 200 under the designation Harvard Mk I or "Harvard As Is" for service in Southern Rhodesia training under the Commonwealth Air Training Program. As the Harvard Mk I (5,000+) design was modeled after the early BC-1 design, the subsequent Harvard Mk II utilized the improvements of the AT-6 models. During 1944, the AT-6D design was adopted by the RAF and named the Harvard MK III. This version was used to train pilots in instrument training in the inclement British weather and for senior officers to log required airtime. Much to the chagrin of the Air Force High Command, the Harvard "hack" was often used for non-military activities like joy-riding and unofficial jaunts across the English countryside.

During 1946, the Canadian Car and Foundry company developed the Harvard Mk IV trainer to the specifications of the T-6G and produced 285 T-6Js under the same design for the USAF Mutual Aid Program. Designated the T-6G, the Texan saw major improvements in increased fuel capacity, an improved cockpit layout, as well as a steerable tailwheel. U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy forces in the Korean War modified the Texan under the LT-6G designation and employed it in battlefield surveillance.

Although the US retired the T-6 from active duty by the end of the 1950's, several nations, including Brazil, China, and Venezuela, utilized "the pilot maker" as their basic trainer well into the 1970's. Today, over 350 T-6 Texans remain in airworthy condition. Most of the former "hacks" are based in North America and are a reminder of the importance of simplicity in training and function.

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The North American T-6 Texan two-place advanced trainer was the classroom for most of the Allied pilots who flew in World War II. Called the SNJ by the Navy and the Harvard by the British Royal Air Force, the AT-6 (advanced trainer) was designed as a transition trainer between basic trainers and first-line tactical aircraft. It was redesignated T-6 in 1948.

In all, the T-6 trained several hundred thousand pilots in 34 different countries over a period of 25 years. A total of 15,495 of the planes were made. Though most famous as a trainer, the T-6 Texan also won honors in World War II and in the early days of the Korean War.

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The North American Texan trainer is one of the most important aircraft of all time and is universally recognized. First built as the NA-16 in 1935, the Texan was in continual production for nearly 10 years and in active use for more than five decades. Primarily used as a trainer, the Texan remains a favorite among warbird collectors around the world.

The U.S. Navy took delivery of a version of the North American trainer called the NJ-1 in late 1936. This aircraft had fixed landing gear and a fabric covered rear fuselage. Besides serving as trainers, these aircraft also flew as command and staff transports. Shortly after the appearance of the NJ-1, the United States Army Air Corps. (USAAC) released a requirement for an advanced trainer offering performance and handling as close as possible to the generation of fighters then in use. North American added a 500 h.p. Pratt & Whitney R-1340 radial engine to the NA-16 airframe and called the new aircraft the NA-26. The NA-26 had retractable landing gear, a full metal fuselage and a position for a single fixed machine gun. The U.S.A.A.C. was elated with the aircraft and ordered it into service as the BC-1. The U.S. Navy also purchased the aircraft as the SNJ-1. From these small initial orders, the North American `Texan' (as the aircraft was commonly known) grew into what has become an all-time aeronautical classic.

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The Texan was an evolution of the company's BC-1 basic combat trainer, which was first produced for the U.S. Army Air Corps with fixed landing gear in 1937 under a contract that called for 174 planes. North American Aviation designed the NA-49 prototype as a low-cost trainer with all the characteristics of a high-speed fighter.

Although not as fast as a fighter, it was easy to maintain and repair, had more maneuverability and was easier to handle. A pilot's airplane, it could roll, Immelmann, loop, spin, snap and vertical roll. It was designed to give the best possible training in all types of tactics, from ground strafing to bombardment and aerial dogfighting. It contained such versatile equipment as bomb racks, blind flying instrumentation, gun and standard cameras, fixed and flexible guns, and just about every other device that military pilots had to operate.

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The basic Texan design constantly underwent modifications. The last model of the Texan, the T-6J, was produced for the U.S. Air Force in the early 1950s. The AT-6 was commonly fitted with a single fixed .30 cal. machine gun, which was used for basic aerial and air-to-ground gunnery training. During the Korean War, the U.S. Air Force and Marine Corps fitted Texans with smoke and white phosphorous rockets and used the plane as forward air controllers.

The British Commonwealth, desperately needing modern aircraft, eventually took delivery of nearly 5,000 T-6's. These aircraft were flown by Australia, Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand, South Africa and Southern Rhodesia. Canada produced a similar aircraft (under license), the Harvard, which featured a heating system using engine exhaust but otherwise was largely identical to the American Texan. The South African Air Force retired their fleet of 100 T-6 trainers in the early 1990s, more than 50 years after the SFAF took delivery of its first Texan. The Cavanaugh Flight Museum owns two of these classic aircraft. While the military histories of both aircraft remain unclear, it is known that the museum's gray T-6 was built at North American's Inglewood, California plant in 1942. The bare metal T-6 rolled out of the same plant a year later. These aircraft are used for the museum's customer flights, as utility aircraft and for aerial photography work. Both of the museum's T-6's have appeared as pace planes for the T-6 aerial races at the Reno Air Races.

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The T-6A Texan II is one component of the Joint Primary Aircraft Training System (JPATS) along with simulators, computer-aided academics, and a Training Integration Management System (TIMS). The joint program, of which the Air Force acts as the executive service, will replace Navy T-34C and Air Force T-37B aircraft. The program uses commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) subsystems to the maximum extent possible. The aircraft-built by Raytheon Aircraft Company is a derivative of the Swiss Pilatus PC-9 aircraft with a Pratt & Whitney PT-6A-68 engine, digital cockpit, Martin-Baker ejection seats, cockpit pressurization, and an onboard oxygen-generating system. The Navy's total T-6A requirement is 328 aircraft.

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The T-6A entered development flight test in July 1998. The FAA approved type and production certification for the T-6A aircraft and production line on 30 July 1999. A successful flight test program and a successful Milestone III full rate production decision followed in December 2001. Both the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy have since entered into a full rate production contract with Raytheon for aircraft. To date the U.S. Air Force has received approximately 100 aircraft and the U.S. Navy has received 4 aircraft. The system will be operational at 13 Air Force and Navy bases when fully fielded. The T-6A achieved initial operating capability (IOC) with the Air Force in 2001 at Moody AFB and the U.S. Navy's IOC is in 2003 at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla.

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The AT-6 advanced trainer was one of the most widely used aircraft in history. 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.

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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.

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While used primarily as a trainer, many of the foreign models did see combat, one Wirraway being credited with splashing a Japanese Zero (perhaps a bit lucky)

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In Korea, they served as forward air controllers with the 6147th Tactical Control Group. The rear seat was occupied by an observer, and the craft was equipped with smoke rockets to mark targets for fighter bombers.

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The North American Texan trainer is one of the most important aircraft of all time and is universally recognized. First built as the NA-16 in 1935, the Texan was in continual production for nearly 10 years and in active use for more than five decades. Primarily used as a trainer, the Texan remains a favorite among Warbird collectors around the world.

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Special thanks to guest phographer Franky Laham...

Variously called the Texan (USAAF), Harvard (RAF), Yale, I-Bird, Mosquito, Wirraway (Australia), T-6 and SNJ (USN), the AT-6 appeared in 1940, a derivation of North American's NA-16 design drawn up for the 1937 Air Corp competition (which was won by the NA-16 incidentally). In all, over 17,000 aircraft were produced, not taking into account the numbers rebuilt from existing airframes, or others that used the AT-6 technology, such as the P-64 or Boomerang.

The AT-6 Texan became the classroom for the majority of the Allied pilots who flew in World War II, and trained several hundred thousand pilots in 34 different countries. It's basic design was as a trainer, with the characteristics of a high speed fighter, and was well suited to the intermediary task of training pilots before letting them loose in an actual fighter aircraft. Although not as fast as a fighter, it was easy to maintain and repair, had more maneuverability and was easier to handle. A pilot's airplane, it could roll, Immelmann, loop, spin, snap, and vertical roll. It was used to train pilots in all aspects of tactical operations, such as dog-fighting, ground strafing, carrier landings, and bombardment. It also included the capacity for fixed and flexible guns, cameras, and just about any other device that the military required.

Widely exported, the Texan served with at least 55 air forces worldwide. Civilian models were, and still are, used as pylon racers, sport aircraft, mail carrier, and even as an air-liner. She saw action in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, as well as dozens of brush-fire wars around the world including Algeria, the Congo, Biafra, the Middle East and throughout Latin America. Despite its impressive war record, the Texan is best known as a trainer, and is affectionately know as 'PILOT MAKER'. In the words of one airman ''The best machine ever built to turn gasoline into noise'.

The North American Texan trainer is one of the most important aircraft of all time and is universally recognized. First built as the NA-16 in 1935, the Texan was in continual production for nearly 10 years and in active use for more than five decades. Primarily used as a trainer, the Texan remains a favorite among Warbird collectors around the world.

Few aircraft make the jump from mere machine to legend, and the AT-6 Texan can stand proud beside the likes of Sopwith Camel, the B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator, Spitfire, or P-51 Mustang.

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