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 North American T-28B Trojan
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B-71 North American / Noorduyn AT-16 Harvard IIB c/n 14A-1444 - Royal Netherlands Air Force - Deelen Air Base in Holland - 15 June 1978 vliegbasis Deelen (EHDL)

The North American AT-6 Harvard/Texan 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 various World War II aircraft.

The Dutch Government received in the years after WW II about 220 North American AT-6A Texan and North American / Noorduyn AT-16-ND Harvards for operations in the Netherlands. The North American AT-6A Texan aircraft went to the RLS at Gize-Rijen Air Base; the North American / Noorduyn AT-16-ND Harvard IIbs to the Nederlandse Militaire Luchtvaart, the aviation part of the Dutch Army. At least five of these AT-16ND Harvards mk.IIB's never entered service with the Nederlandse Militaire Luchtvaart as these aircraft were immediately stored and used for the provision of parts. On 11 March 1953, the Koninklijke Luchtmacht (KLu) - Royal Netherlands Air Force became an independent division of the Armed Forces of the Netherlands. Up to 1962 the Dutch military used the Harvard primarily as a trainer for the Advanced Flying Training (VVO) and the flying instructors’ training (VIO) at Gilze-Rijen Air Base. On this aircraft the trainees acquired their Major Military Flying Certificate. These aircraft were recognizable by their conspicuous canary-yellow livery, with orange-red dayglow bands around their engine cowlings, fuselages and wing tips. Over the years, several aircraft were operated by the MLD (Netherlands Naval Aviation) on short term loans from the ML and later the Klu. Next to the aircraft used by the MLD; VVO and VIO, Harvard IIBs were stationed at most of the Dutch Air Force Bases and use as a Communication aircraft. A special task was there for a number of camouflaged Harvard IIBs, operating from the Deelen Air Base, that served as targets in the role of anti-aircraft attackers for anti-aircraft artillery. At the beginning of 1968 the last Harvard’s were withdrawn from use and handed over to the Depot Vliegtuig Materieel / DVM (Aircraft Materials Depot).

The North American AT-16 Harvard IIB s/n 14A-1444 was built under license by Noorduyn Aviation Ltd., Montreal, Quebec, Canada, under USAAF serial 43-13154. In 1944, the AT-16-ND was delivered under Lend-Lease arrangements to Great Britain and registered with the RAF as Harvard IIb FT404. In 1947, the aircraft was sold to the Netherlands. In July 1947, the Harvard IIB entered service as B-71 with the Royal Netherlands Army Air Force / Nederlandse Militaire Luchtvaart. On 27 March 1953, the B-71 was transferred to the new established Koninklijke Luchtmacht (KLu) - Royal Netherlands Air Force. In 1966, North American / Noorduyn AT-16-ND Harvard IIB B-71 was grounded by the Royal Netherlands Air Force; the outer wings were cut and until 1972, the airframe served at Deelen AB. In 1973, the Harvard was added to the collection of the Militaire Luchtvaart Museum, Soesterberg. In 1977, the B-71 acted modified as Fokker D-XXI replica '218' in the movie "Soldaat van Oranje". After the role in the movie, the airframe underwent major overhaul and was rebuild to airworthy condition. In 1984, the North American AT-16 Harvard IIB was testflown at Soesterberg AB as B-71. On 4 April 1985, the aircraft was permited as to fly as PH-MLM without the civilian markings. After a forced landing in Belgium on 23 April 1985, the permit to fly was cancelled. On 5 July 1985, the Harvard IIB was registered PH-MLM with Stichting Vliegsport Gilze-Rijen as operator and Militair Luchtvaart Museum as owner. On 17 Juni 1999, Stichting KLu Historische Vlucht was registered as operater with as before Militair Luchtvaart Museum as owner. On 5 November 2012, the CofA of the aircraft expired. On 5 January 2015, registration PH-MLM was cancelled. The North American AT-16 Harvard IIB is stored at Gilze-Rijen AB.
On 15 June 1978, North American AT-16-ND Harvard IIB B-71 of the Royal Netherlands Air Force was seen at Deelen AFB near Arnhem during the "65 jaar Koninklijke Luchtmacht" anniversary days.

page last updated 08-12-2021
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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