North American T-6: SNJ, Harvard and Wirraway
By Peter C. Smith
Publisher: The Crowood Press 2000 224 Pages
PDF 83 MB
This is the story of one of the most successful and best'loved aircraft of all time. Born on the eve of war, when the need to irain unprecedented numbers of young men to become pilots was lirsi being realized, so outstanding was the design, and so great the demand thai the North American Advanced Trainer 6 (AT-6) went on to be built in ever greater numbers to serve the mushrooming of Allied military aviation. If you became an Allied pilot during World War Two, the chances are that you learned your skills in the AT-6, the SNJ (as the US Navy termed it) or, if you were British, Australian, Canadian, Rhodesian, South African or any other liver from the Empire, the Harvard,
Names abounded. In an effort to make her more media-friendly the Americans christened later Dallas-built versions the 'Texan', to equate with the British naming their versions the 'Harvard'. It never caught on, and T-6' or just The Six' was how the bulk of her USAAF pilots always called her; to the US Navy and Marine ( a>rps flyers she was known as the 'SNJ', or sometimes the 'J-Bird'. In Korea she I ie< ame t lie 'Mosquito' alter her call*sign, and air forces the world over came up with i heir own names lor North American Avi-,it ion's most famous product.
Brought about by the needs ol World War Two, the T-6's story did not end in 1945; indeed, it had hardly begun! Far from ending her days with the end of the war, the T-6 continued to form a basic part of most Western air forces' training systems. Many former T-6 pilots, now civilians once again, seized the opportunity to renew their love affair with this unique living machine; whether as stunt plane, aerobatics mount, crop sprayer, mail-plane, pylon racer or just plain fun machine, ex-military T-6s were snapped up in ever increasing numbers by flyers from Los Angeles to Lahore, from London to Lima, and so the 1-6 began her second career.