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SE-BII North American AT-16 Harvard IIB c/n 14-245-705 - USAAF '16544 / FY' - Hoogeveen airfield in Holland - 29 June 2010 more at vliegveld Hoogeveen

The North American AT-16 Harvard IIB is a single-engined; two seat; low wing, advanced training aircraft with tandem cockpits and sliding enclosures and with a retractable undercarriage. Design and development of the North American T-6 series began with a 1934 US contract for a primary trainer to meet an US Army Air Corps requirement. The prototype of this primary trainer, the North American NA-16, a two-seat training aircraft with fixed undercarriage, first flew on 1 April 1935. The NA-16 was followed by a single preproduction aircraft, the NA-18, and finally by the NA-19 that first flew in April 1936 and entered sevice with the United States Army Air Corps as the BT-9 (basic trainer, type 9). The North American NA-26 was submitted as an entry for a USAAC "Basic Combat" aircraft competition in March 1937. The NA-26 design was derived from the North American BT-9, and had a retractable undercarriage, the more powerfull Pratt and Whitney R-1340 9 cylinder Wasp radial up front and some other refinements to the BT-9 airframe. The North American NA-26 prototype NX18990 was flying first on 11 February 1938. The North American NA-26 Basic Combat demonstrator NX18990 won the competition, and, in due course, with only minor modifications like the 600hp R-1340-47 engine, the NA-26 model entered production as Model NA-36 and 177 aircraft were supplied to the USAAC as the BC-1 (basic combat, type 1). The BC-1 was followed by the BC-1A (NA-55) with some airframe revisions (92 built); and a single BC-1B with a modified wing center-section. Thirty of the BC-1's were modified as BC-1I instrument trainers; and with the beginning of World War II 400 aircraft were ordered by the RAF as the Harvard I, an aircraft similar to BC-1 but without rear gun and with a 600hp R-1340-S3H1 engine. The US Navy received 16 modified aircraft, designated the SNJ-1, and a further 61 as the SNJ-2 with a different engine. The BC-1 was equipped with one nose-mounted .30-caliber machine gun that fired through the propeller and a second .30-caliber gun on a flexible mount in the rear cockpit. When the Basic Combat classification was abandoned, the BC-1A was redesignated AT-6. Originally designed by North American Aviation, as a Basic Combat aircraft, the T-6 is known by a variety of designations depending on the model and operating air force. The United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) and USAAF designated it as the AT-6, the United States Navy the SNJ, and British Commonwealth air forces the Harvard, the name by which it is best known outside of the US. In all, more than 20,000 airframes with varoiuos various modifications were built by North American Aviation and under license from North American Aviation in California, Texas, Montreal (by Noorduyn Aviation), Fort William, Ontario (by Canadian Car & Foundry) and as the Wirraway in Australia (by Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation). Starting in 1948, the new United States Air Force (USAF) designated it the T-6, with the USN following in 1962. It remains a popular warbird aircraft used for airshow demonstrations and static displays. It has also been used many times to simulate variousWorld War II aircraft.

The North American AT-16 Harvard IIB c/n 14-245-705 was built by Noorduyn Aviation Ltd., at Montreal, Quebec, Canada, under USAAF serial 42-708 and delivered to the RCAF as FE511 on 13 October 1942. The FE511 was one of 639 RAF Harvard and Texan aircraft in use by the RCAF. The RAF aircraft in the FE, FH, FS and FT ranges of serials continued to serve with their original numbers. For the duration of WW II, the 1942-built Harvard II served as FE511 at No.6 Service Flying Training School at Dunnville, Ontario. On 11 December 1946, the FE511 was Struck off Charge from the RCAF. Following refurbishment, the Charles Babb Co. of Montreal acquired the aircraft and sold it the same month to the Swedish AF and shipped the Harvard IIB to Sweden in 1947. In the years 1947-1953, a total of 257 North American T-6 Texan / Harvard entered service with the Royal Swedish Air Force. In 1947 and 1948, the first batches of 91 and 52 Harvard IIB aircraft with low hours were purchaced from the large surplus stocks of these planes after WW II. In 1950, it was decided to acquire more aircraft. Now, however, the surplus was not as large as the years before, and the aircraft bought were significantly more expensive and had more flight hours than the previous aircraft. These were built in the United States by North American and were named Sk 16B and Sk 16C, with the earlier aircraft being renamed Sk 16A (Sk stands for Skolflygplan). One of the aircraft was North American AT-16 Harvard IIB c/n 14-245-705, that after being assembled in Sweden, on 3 September 1948 was delivered as Sk16 A Fv16128 to the F18 wing of the Royal Swedish AF. Sk16 A Fv16105 served as an advanced trainer with the Swedish Air Force from 20 September 1948 right up to 29 August 1969, when she was withdrawn from use. After being wfu from use by the Swedish AF, the airplane, including engine, instruments and other equipment, was handed over to the Stockholm Technical High School as an instructional airframe. In 1973, the aircraft was added to the collection of the Luftfartmuseet at Arlanda, only due to the situation of this new Aviation Museum, the airframe was at least until 1979 stored in crates at Bromma Airport, awaiting the final establishment of the museum. In 1987, Pr Erixon from Angerod, bought the Fv16128 airframe from the Arlandasamlingarna (the Arlanda museum collection). Pr Erixon wanted to restore the aircraft to airworthy in Gteborg. The restoration took to much time and in 2005, the restorationproject was sold to Stefan Sandberg & Niclas Amrn from Sigtuna, who went on with the project at Htuna. In 2008, registration SE-BII was reserved for the North American AT-16 Harvard IIB and on 5 september 2008, taxi trials with the aircraft were done at Htuna, followed by the first flight on 21 April 2009. The aircraft was painted in a blue white fantasy color scheme like a Reno racer with USAAF marking and a 'Checker Tail' painting. On 1 April 2010, the aircraft was registered SE-BII with Stefan Sandberg & Niclas Amrn. In October 2015, the aircraft was sold to the Private UK company Hurricane Heritage with the idea to restore the Harvard IIB to her original wartime paint scheme. Hurricane Heritage decided to house the aircraft at the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden. On 31 October 2015, the SE-BII arrived at Old Warden aerodrome near Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, England. After months of painstaking work by the teams at RGV and Ardent Paint Care in Gloucester, the restoration of AT-16 Harvard MkIIB 'FE511' was completed. On 1 February 2016, registration SE-BII was cancelled as exported to the UK, and, on 2 February 2016, the aircraft was registered G-CIUW with James Brown, Oxford. On 29 November 2016, permission was issued to display the aircraft as ROYAL AIR FORCE FE511 (metalic colors). On 29 June 2010, the North American AT-16 Harvard IIB SE-BII was seen in its 'USAAF Reno Airracer / 7' fantasy colors at Hoogeveen airfield, the Netherlands.

page last updated: 14-02-2017
Copyright Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands
 

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