1943 North American SNJ-5 T-6 Trainer  Engine no. R.1340-PCI-(AN1)
Lot 638
1943 North American SNJ-5 T-6 Trainer Engine no. R.1340-PCI-(AN1)
Sold for US$ 131,300 inc. premium
Lot Details
1943 North American SNJ-5 T-6 Trainer
Registration no. N43AF
Engine no. R.1340-PCI-(AN1)
Here we are delighted to offer this most attractive example of one of the World's most popular and numerous 'Warbirds' – the ex-US Navy air arm North American SN-J. The North American Aviation company first flew its NA-16 prototype monoplane trainer on April 1, 1935, after which - modified as the NA-26 – it became the successful entry in a compeititon to choose a 'Basic Combat' aircraft for the United States Army Air Corps in March, 1937. While 180 were immediately supplied to the USAAC as the BC-1 model, the British Royal Air Force purchased no fewer than 400 where they entered training service as the North American Harvard I. The US Navy received 16 modified aircraft, designated the SNJ-1, and a further 61 as the SNJ-2 using an alternative engine.

Within a brief period of time the advanced trainer AT-6 version had been developed, featuring new outer-wing panels with a swept-forward trailing edge, squared-off wingtips and a triangular rudder, thus producing the definitive North American Texan silhouette. The AT-6 variant was then designated Harvard II for combined RAF and Royal Canadian Air Force orders, over 1,170 being supplied by purchase or Lend-Lease to service the , warime British Commonwealth Air Training Plan – producing qualified fighter and bomber pilots for what became the Allied war effort from 1941-45.

The AT-6A variant used the Pratt & Whitney R-1340-49 radial engine and a profusion of ever-developing variants and sub-types followed as the airframes were produced in many thousands. A total of 15,495 T-6s of all variants were built.

This particular aircraft is, we are advised, an SNJ-5 T-6 variant, of which a total 1, 357 were manufactured as an essentially Naval training aircraft. The AT-6G (SNJ-5) involved major advances including a full-time hydraulic system and a steerable tailwheel and survived in service into the 1950s as the preferred USAF training aircraft.

This particular T6 was spotted by its owner, Mr Alan Fitz, possibly abandoned within a stand of trees in Texas. He asked around to discover the machine's ownership and was introduced eventually to the owner, a Mr James Cobb. He was able to negotiate purchase and found quite a lengthy title-chain prior to Mr Cobb. It appeared that the aircraft had at one stage been on lend-lease to a foreign country, and we are advised that there are relevant foreign log books that say, AERONAUTICA MILITARE on them. The first log in date was Dec 14, 1953 and the last recorded date was May 25, 1975.

Mr Fitz undertook considerable restoration work at substantial cost to make the T6 once again airworthy, and he was eventually able to fly it to Iowa Falls, Iowa. His first logged use of the aircraft is on November 14, 1984. He flew his T6 mostly around Iowa Falls and to other small towns in the surrounding area. He very much enjoyed going to flight breakfasts in it, and taking his family and friends out to fly with him.

In 1993, after minor accident damage, the propeller, left wing and canopy were replaced. This is a most attractive 'warbird' in which passengers can be carried to share the experience and enjoyment of piston-engined military-style flight as it used to be.

Footnotes

  • The SNJ-5 will not be available to view at Quail Lodge, however interested parties are invited to view the aircraft at its current location at the Iowa Military Aviation History Museum in Ankeny, Iowa. The museum's knowledgeable team will be happy to show you over the aircraft. For an appointment to view please email or call our office at +1 415 391 4000 and we will be pleased to make an appointment for you.

    Additionally, as we go to press we are advised that the annual inspection is being out and we look forward to having more details regarding this examination at as we approach the sale.

Saleroom notices

  • We are advised by the vendor that the airplane's engine has approximately 300 hours of run time since a major overhaul completed in Portugal. We are also advised that in the plane's early days it was used as a Navy trainer out of Pensacola, Florida. The propeller is a Hamilton Standard unit installed ten years ago, and the plane has had very little flight time since then. Mr. Fitz has greatly enjoyed flying this lovely aircraft, and wishes that its new owner will appreciate it to the extent that he has.
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