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Tigers: Tracking a Legend
North American AT-6 Texan
The Texan takes off in 900 feet and lands in 700 feet. It was not really an air-to-air combat aircraft, although there is one report of a Wirraway (an Australian variant) having shot down a Japanese Zero.
There are many cases of combat veterans coming home, hopping into a T-6 and killing themselves. Depending on who you talk to, it was either an easy or difficult aircraft to fly. It presented a challenge to cadet pilots and as a result, was a good trainer.
In Korea the T-6 was used for Forward Air Control and to spray insects. The latter mission gave it the nickname "Mosquitoes."
In civilian life, the AT-6 is a favorite in movies. They have been altered to resemble Soviet Yak fighters, British fighters and Japanese Zeros in the movie "Tora, Tora, Tora."
The Texan was one of the most flexible planes ever designed. Because of both its combat readiness and use as a heavy trainer, it could perform a variety of tasks. Almost every country in the world has used the T-6 (even U.S. enemies). There were 15,649 Texans and Harvards built, and numerous types based on its design.
Did You Know?
- The Air Zoo's SNJ was in French Morocco from April 6, 1953 to December 11, 1954. It was sold to Queen City Salvage in Charlotte, North Carolina on December 18, 1958 for $385.11. The average cost of one in 1944 was $22,952.