North American T-6 “Texan”
North American Aviation (NAA) manufactured several iconic aircraft, including the T-6 Texan trainer, the P-51 Mustang fighter, the B-25 Mitchell bomber, the T-28 Trojan trainer, the F-86 Sabre jet fighter, the X-15 rocket plane, the XB-70, as well as the Apollo Command and Service Modules.
The North American Aviation T-6 (Texan) has had multiple designations during its long career. It was known as the Harvard in the Royal Canadian and Royal Air Forces, SNJ in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, AT-6 in the U.S. Army Air Corps, and T-6G in the U.S. Air Force. The AT-6 was derived from the BC-1, a fixed gear, tandem, 450hp Basic Combat Trainer originally flown in 1938.
The title of AT-6 refers to this aircraft’s well-deserved designation as an Advanced Trainer. The T-6 was and remains an excellent pilot trainer. During take-off, and especially landing, it can be unforgiving of any inattention or incompetence in pilot technique. Ground looping is an “occupational hazard” of flying these airplanes. The higher wing loading of 20-23 lbs/ft² compared with that of the Stearman PT-17 (8.8 lbs/ ft²) and J-3 Cub (6.8 lbs/ ft²) made the AT-6 a good transition trainer to the larger military aircraft such as the P-51 Mustang which has wing loading of 39 lbs/ ft².
During W.W.II a military student might start flight training in a Primary Trainer such as Boeing Stearman PT-17 (220hp) and progress to a Basic Trainer like the BT-13 (450hp). The last phase of training would be the AT-6 (600 hp) with features such as retractable gear, flaps, and a constant speed propeller. In 1940 the syllabus required 200 hours for the cadet to receive his wings, the last 75 hours being in the AT-6. For a brief period in the late 1940’s-early 1950’s the USAF started students in the T-6G. The expected time to solo was 27 hours.
Although the AT-6’s primary mission was training pilots to fly, it served in other roles. A cowling mounted .30 Cal. machine gun or wing mounted guns allowed its use for pilot gunnery training. By using a forward folding rear canopy and an aft swiveling rear seat, a .30 Cal machine gun could be mounted on the aft turtle-deck and used to train aerial gunners. Bomb racks could be mounted under the wings. During the Korean War, the LT-6G (Mosquito) was fitted with rocket launchers and used as a Forward Air Controller, spotting and marking targets for fighter/bombers and artillery. Numerous Air Forces have since used the T-6 as trainers and some as fighter/bombers.
Of the 15,495 Texans built there are more than 600 on the Registry in North America. It is a delightful airplane to fly, whether in aerobatics, formation, cross country, or in the local pattern. Those fortunate to have that privilege honor the memories of the brave men and women who flew these wonderful machines in preparation for war. We are not “owners”. We are “caretakers” of History.
Information regarding North American Aviation and the T-6 Texan credited to NATA
Our Texan once served with the Mexican Air Force. You can schedule a flight in this expertly restored 1943 T-6 Texan and you will have the flight experience of a lifetime. During your flight you get to take the controls of this historic WWII advanced trainer and enjoy your own personalized flight training experience. Each flight is customized based on your input and experience. Your flight instructor will explain and demonstrate the operation of the aircraft and guide you through various maneuvers at your pace. Each flight will also include aerobatics if requested. Soaring above the beautiful Northern Virginia landscape you will be able to experience what it was like flying a fighter during WWII. Upon completion of your flight you will receive documentation from your instructor of your flight training. Bring your pilot logbook if you have one or we can furnish a complimentary flight record.