AT-6D FX 301

North American T-6/SNJ/Harvard

The T-6, one of the most popular warbird aircraft today, is an outstanding single engine trainer that has been used by air forces of over 30 countries. It is an excellent aircraft for anyone transitioning to a high horsepower tailwheel fighter.

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Engine: Pratt & Whitney R-1340AN-1 engine, 600 HP
Propeller: Hamilton Standard Two Blade 12D40 Propeller
Wing Span: 42' 5"
Length: 29' 6"
Height: 11' 9"
Normal Gross Weight: 5300 LBS - 2409 KGS.
G Loading: +5.67, -2.33
Controls: Dual
Number in Civilian Registry: Approx. 600
Average Number Sold per Year: 35
Normal cruise speed is 155 MPH (30 US GPH) at 8000'. The aircraft is stressed for aerobatics and is capable of most maneuvers with the exception of sustained inverted flight, snap rolls, outside loops, and inverted spins.
The T-6/SNJ/Harvard aircraft have been produced in a number of model designations. Most of the changes are small and do not affect today’s warbird operator. The following section is devoted to discussing the most common differences.
Fuel Capacity-   The T-6 has 110 US gallons on all models except the T-6G and Harvard MK IV, which have 140 gallons. With a cruise fuel burn of 30 GPH, 110 gallons is adequate for most operators.
Tail wheel steering/locking systems-  The Navy type is lockable only. The pilot is able to lock the tailwheel to a straight-ahead position for take off and landing. Steering is accomplished by differential braking. The steerable type system (also called P-51 type) uses an interconnect from the rudder pedals to the tailwheel steering system. This system allows the pilot to steer the aircraft by use of the rudder pedals. Full forward stick movement unlocks this system. When unlocked the tailwheel becomes full swivel and steering is again by differential braking.
Hydraulic system-  The original system incorporated a pilot controlled bypass. In order to use the gear or flaps, a small button must first be pushed before activation of the system. This button pressurizes the system and a time delay circuit depressurizes the system after approximately 45 seconds. Later aircraft (TG-G/Harvard MK-4) had a modified linkage that engaged the system automatically. For practical purposes, either system is satisfactory. There are several variations in other areas such as instrument panel layout and cockpit glass. Many aircraft have been modified to incorporate various combinations of the above systems. For the most part, any of these systems work well for the civilian operator.
For the average civilian operator, the exact model should not be as big a concern as finding a good clean aircraft at the investment level desired. Most of these aircraft have been in civilian ownership for a number years; therefore, they have been well taken care of. A pre-purchase inspection by a qualified shop is always a good idea. General condition and lack of major corrosion are important. Since these aircraft were designed as trainers they may have had some damage in their lifetimes. If the damage was repaired and the appropriate parts were replaced, the damage history of the aircraft will not be a major issue. The level of restoration is a big variable and greatly affects the price of the aircraft.
Fuel: 30 USGPH (114 litres) @ £1.30 per litre plus VAT = approx. £170.00/hour
Oil: 2 quarts/hour
These aircraft consist of simple electric and hydraulic systems and can be maintained very easily by most general aviation shops. There is no special test equipment required that is different from normal civilian aircraft. Parts are readily available from several sources - particularly from the US. Most aircraft in good condition can be inspected for £2000 or less.
AD’S AND OTHER SERVICE INFORMATION-  There are several one time AD’s to be done as part of the original certification. Other AD’s include AD 50-38-1, which calls for inspection at each annual for corrosion of the airframe. A normal Annual Inspection will cover this.
AD 2005-12-51 calls for an inspection of upper and lower wing attach angles. After initial inspection, this will be done each 200 hours. A revision is expected in 2006 that will extend the recurring inspection times.
AD 81-14-10 calls for inspection of the tail-attach fittings for cracks. This can be done at every annual inspection or the fitting can be replaced with a newer style, which will eliminate the repetitive inspections. Most aircraft have the newer style fittings installed.
AD 99-11-2 for the Pratt &Whitney R-1340 engine calls for an inspection for cylinder head cracks. This again would be done at annual. There is also an AD on R-1340 crankshafts made by Air Tractor and installed in certain engines at overhaul.

The American built aircraft are certified in the Standard Category in the USA. The Harvard MK-IV aircraft built in Canada by Canadian Car and Foundry are certified in the Experimental-Exhibition Category. Some early Harvard MK-II’s were built in the US and can be certified in the Standard Category.

In the UK the Harvard is classed by EASA as an 'Annex B' aircraft. If 'G' registered, it is therefore subject to an annual permit from the UK CAA.

There have been a number of books written about the T-6/SNJ/Harvard aircraft that will give more detailed information on the aircraft. Some recommended sources are:
"T-6 Texan in Action," Squadron/Signal Publications #94

"The incredible T-6 Pilot Maker," Walt Ohlrich and Jeff Ethell, Speciality Press

"T-6 Texan-The Immortal Pilot Trainer," William Jesse, Osprey Aerospace-England

"AT-6/Harvard," Len Morgan, Arco Famous Aircraft series.

"Harvard-The North American Trainers in Canada," David Fletcher and Doug MacPhail, DCF Books-Canada

"Story of the Texan AT-6," Aviation Publications

"Warbird Tech Series American NA16/AT-6/SNJ," Dan Hagerdorn, Specialty Press

NATA - North American Trainer Association

These and other books are available from


Click to go to T6/Harvard/SNJ photos

Harvard/T6/SNJ photos

More photos

AT-6 Harvard

AT6 Harvard aeroplane


The North American T-6 Texan was one of the most important aircraft designs of the Second World War era. With so many Texans built, it was inevitable that the T-6 would be used not only for its original design brief purpose as a trainer but also in a wide variety of other roles including advanced trainer, fighter, interceptor, fighter-bomber, forward control aircraft and counter insurgency aircraft. Sporting a variety of different names, it has served the air forces in over 55 countries; the type has seen action in three major conflicts - World War II, Korea and Vietnam and a proliferation of minor hostilities.

Starting life as a North American training aircraft with the designation NA-16, the type first flew on 1 April 1935. Deliveries began after some design modifications in the form of BT-9 (the BT standing for Basic Trainer) in the spring of 1936. Thus began a litany of models and variants which included the famous designation AT-6 (the AT standing for Advanced Trainer). Ultimately, this was changed to simply T-6 by the U.S. Air Force in 1947. Known as the Texan in the U.S. because initial production was undertaken in Dallas, Texas, the type was allotted a rich variety of different names in different countries and for different roles…Yale, Wirraway, J-Bird, Mosquito, SNJ and commonly, T-6.

In pre-war Britain, it was being realised the demand for training aircraft could not be met in England, especially with the commencement of pilot training through the Empire Air Training Scheme. The British placed an order for BC-1 s to be built with British specified equipment. These were designated Harvard Mk 1and the first production model flew on 28 September 1938 arriving in England on 24 October. In excess of 300 aircraft were ordered. Later, at the height of the war, training units were moved abroad to make room for combat airfields in England and to provide a safer environment for cadet training. Aircraft were then delivered direct to Canada and South Africa. Improvements in the BC-1, specifically all metal fuselages manifested as BC-1A which the RAF designated Harvard Mk II when fitted with British equipment. The British Government initially ordered 600 but eventually took delivery of over 1000, many going to the Royal Canadian Air Force and only 145 to the Royal Air Force. They were delivered in Trainer Yellow paint scheme. British demand for the type continued to grow and as a consequence, various US marks were re-designated giving rise to Harvard Mk IIA/B and Harvard III. Some 2800 were produced in Canada and some 1300 in Dallas.

Many combat pilots spent 75 hours or so training in the T-6 and, as a consequence, it was often nicknamed “the pilot maker”. Another favourite nickname in the U.S. was “old growler” by the distinctive growl of the Pratt and Whitney radial engine. In the U.K., the nickname “window breaker” was coined as the propeller blades when set to fully fine pitch and at military power settings sometimes pushed the propeller tips to supersonic speeds with glass shattering results!

The U.S. finally struck the last T-6 off charge in the late 1950s but many air forces elsewhere continued. Indeed, there were 14 air forces still with T-6s on charge in 1985. The South African Air Force continued with the type up until 1995 when the last of their 100 military airframes was retired.

Of the over 17,000 aircraft produced, only approximately 600 survive in airworthy condition today, mainly in the United States.


Type   Two-seat (some, single-seat) basic or advanced trainer, FAC (forward air control) and attack.
Manufacturer   North America Aviation Inc.
Armament   Normally provision for machine gun in either or both wing roots and manually aimed in rear cockpit and light series wing bomb racks
Cruising speed   220 mph
Climbing speed   212 mph
Range   870 miles
Service ceiling   24,750 ft

Technical specifications

North American AT-6D Harvard Mk III
Length   29ft 6 in
Wing span   42 ft 5 in
Weight   5,617 lbs max
Speed   242 mph max
Engine   One 600hp Pratt & Whitney nine cylinder radial.

Click to go to Broken Wing Aviation website - AT-6D Harvard Mk III grouping