North American Harvard Mk. II

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The Harvard was the most numerous of Canadian-built aircraft, with a total of 3 350 produced. In anticipation of a possible aluminum shortage, a wooden rear fuselage and wings were developed and built, but not produced. A gunnery trainer and target tow version were also developed but never produced.

Highlights: #

  • A single-engine, advanced trainer designed by North American Aviation Incorporated of Inglewood, California, and produced between 1937 and 1953
  • Known as the AT-6 Texan by the U.S. military, for whom it was designed
  • Used for training nearly all U.S. and British Commonwealth fighter pilots from 1940 to 1955
  • Used in Canada during the Second World War under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan
  • Noorduyn Aviation Limited and Canadian Car & Foundry Limited produced a total of 3,350 Harvards in Canada both during and after the Second World War: its production was the highest for a Canadian-built aircraft
  • One of the most famous and successful trainers of all time
  • The first flight was in 1940 (AT-6)

One of the best-advanced training aircraft ever built, the Harvard became a mainstay of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Harvard IIBs were first ordered from Noorduyn in Montreal in January 1940. Noorduyn eventually built 2 800 Harvards for the RAF and RCAF. Canadian Car and Foundry made 550 Mk.4s for Canada and the United States in the 1950s. The Mk.4 had an improved cockpit canopy and greater fuel capacity.

The Harvard must be considered one of the outstanding aircraft of Second World War and the early postwar years. From 1940 to 1955, nearly all American and British Commonwealth pilots had some training on Harvards. Strong and unforgiving, requiring a delicate touch to keep straight on landing and take-off, it was an ideal training airplane. The Harvard was the most numerous of Canadian-built aircraft, with a total of 3 350 produced. In anticipation of a possible aluminum shortage, a wooden rear fuselage and wings were developed and built, but not produced. A gunnery trainer and target tow version were also developed but never produced. Skis were produced but never installed because a strengthened undercarriage would have been necessary.

Missing Harvards

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