Photo: Drew Naylor
AT-6D Texan “Tweety”
Restored to flying condition
Designed by North American Aviation of Inglewood, CA in 1939 as an advanced trainer the AT-6 Texan became one of the most important and widely used aircraft to emerge from WWII. An excellent training machine for fledging fighter pilots its adaptability allowed it to be used to teach carrier landings, aerial gunnery, glide bombing, flexible hand-held gunnery, aerial photography, instrument flying, and advanced military flying. When flown by the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) it was known as the Texan; in the U.S. Navy and Marines it was known as the SNJ or J-Bird, and to the British, Irish, Canadians, Australians, South Africans, and Rhodesians, it was called the Harvard. Pilots of twenty-four Allied countries trained in AT-6s during WWII, with over 14,100 aircraft produced between 1939 and 1945.
The AT-6D on display was built at the North American Aviation plant in Dallas, TX and delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force on 15 May 1944. It was stationed at bases in New York, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, and North Carolina. Eventually transferred to storage in October 1953, it was declared surplus just under two years later.
The civilian history of this aircraft is largely unknown. It was sold as surplus by the U.S. Air Force in 1958 with 5098 hours of flight time and passed through several owners before being purchased by Ron Klemm of Fairbanks, AK. Mr. Klemm restored the aircraft to its current condition over a period of 10 years and in 1999 sold it to the Tri-State Warbird Museum.
Serial Number: 42-84779 | Tail: N7RK
North American Aviation
April 1, 1935
1995 (South African Air Force)
Crew: Pilot, Trainee / Passenger
Engine: Pratt & Whitney R-1340-AN1 Wasp 9 cylinder single-row radial engine
Max Speed: 208 mph
Armament: One wing mounted .30 caliber machine gun, one fuselage mounted .30 caliber machine gun, one flexible mounted, rear facing .30 caliber machine gun
Wingspan: 42 ft, 1/4 in
Length: 28 ft, 11 7/8 in
Height: 11 ft, 8 in
Max Weight: 5,300 lbs
Service Ceiling: 21,500 ft
Max Range: 750 miles
Fuel Capacity: 110 gallons