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AT-6/SNJ Texan - Castle Air Museum

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North American AT-6/SNJ Texan (Harvard)

AT-6 Texan Castle Air Museum

The US Army AT-6 or SNJ as the Navy version was called, was used as advanced training aircraft to teach whatever courses were needed after "basic" such as gunnery, navigation or blind flying, as part of a well-planned training program. The USAAF designation AT, stood for Advanced Trainer.

It was built in larger numbers and used more widely than any other World War II trainer. According to Larry Davis in T-6 Texan in Action (p4), “[t]here have been a great many other aircraft developed for the trainer role; however, only the T-6 Texan is know by the name, PILOT MAKER”. Photo above was taken at Castle Air Museum

Variants of the AT-6 were also used by Great Britain and Australia. Early in the war, an order for a version called the Harvard was sent to Great Britain for use by the RAF; later, British pilots began taking their training in the United States and Canada. A variant of the AT-6 was built under license in Australia as the Wirraway (“challenge” in the Woiwurrung language). According to Davis (p43), “[t]he Wirraway is the only T-6 variant to be credited with a confirmed air-to-air-kill in any war”.


Navy SNJ-3 ready to take off from aricraft carrier

Developed from several models, and numbers of modifications, the Army and Navy versions become nearly identical with an all-metal fuselage and retractable landing gear, although some later models contained a number of wooden parts as requested by the War Department in an effort to conserve aluminum for the defensive combat aircraft. The aircraft's name of "Texan" originated from the fact that the North American Dallas plant was main producer for the T-6/SNJ trainers. U.S. Navy photo shows a North American SNJ-3 preparing to take off, during pilot qualification operations - San Diego, California, on January 28 1943.


The SNJ and AT-6 were armed with two .30 caliber machine guns, and some versions had an additional machine gun in the rear. The aircraft could also be fitted with a tail hook for carrier training, a starboard wing mounted machine gun and bomb racks. The AT6F/SNJ-6 incorporated a twenty gallon drop tank and was the last version to be produced before the war's end.


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Throughout World War II the reliable At-6 variants bridged the gap between the beginning trainers and the defense aircraft which the trained pilot would eventually fly. After WWII, the aircraft went on to see service in the Korean and Vietnam Wars.


According to museum information "the display aircraft at Castle Air Museum (s/n 2684) was built in 1940 for the RAF who called it 'Harvard Mk. II'. It was used in the Commonwealth Air Training Scheme in Canada. It is painted in the colors of a trainer as it would have appeared in the mid 1950s."




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Also see on our website

Texan trainers - Naval Aviation Centennial

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* North American AT-6 Texan facts

Category Trainer
Manufacturer North American
Also known as:


AT-6, SNJ, Texan (US)
Harvard (British),
Wirraway (Australian)
Used in WW II by



United States Army Air Forces
United States Navy
Royal Air Force
Royal Australian Air Force
Produced 1938 to 1951
Number built over 15,000
Max. speed 205 mph
Powerhouse
Pratt & Whitney R-1340 radial
Horsepower
600 hp
Service ceiling 23,200 feet
Range 770 miles
Crew 2
* Numbers are approximate