Model Airplane News
Planes Worth Modeling: North American AT-6 Texan
A single-engine, two-seat advanced trainer aircraft used to train pilots of the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF), U.S. Navy, Royal Air Force, and other air forces of the British Commonwealth during World War II, and variants of the North American Aviation AT-6 Texan were used into the early 1970s. Known by various designations, the Air Corps (USAAC) and USAAF designated it as the AT-6, the U.S. Navy the SNJ, and British Commonwealth air forces the Harvard. Starting in 1948, the new USAF Air Force (USAF) designated it the T-6, with the USN following in 1962.
The Texan originated from the North American NA-16 prototype (first flown on April 1, 1935). In 1935, NAA submitted this design for the U.S. Army Air Corps Basic Trainer Competition. The modified NA-26 was submitted as an entry for a USAAC “Basic Combat Trainer” aircraft competition in March 1937. Based on the NA-18, but with a foot longer wingspan, it was the first of the NA-16 series with retractable gear. It was similar to the BT-9, but with a larger engine, the 550hp Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp, and could accommodate two .30-cal guns. The BC-1 (NA-36) was the production version, with 177 built using R-1340-47 engines, the first delivered on June 9, 1937. Some 30 were modified as BC-1-I instrument trainers. The armed version, the BC-1A (NA-55-1), carried a .30-cal M-2 machine gun on the starboard nose, and a flexible M-2 in the rear. The 83 BC-1As built, used a NACA 2215 airfoil at the wing root, and a NACA 4412 airfoil at the tip, with a 178 gallon fuel capacity.
Today, the T-6 remains a very popular warbird aircraft used for airshow demonstrations and static displays. A total of 15,495 T-6s of all variants were built.