Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Canadian memories of the T-6 Texan
In July last year I wrote about the T-6 Texan (a.k.a. Harvard, shown below) in South African Air Force service.
It had a long and illustrious career spanning over 55 years before it was finally replaced by the Pilatus PC-7 Mark II (shown below).
You can read much more about it, and see lots more photographs, in my earlier article.
Now, from Vintage Wings of Canada, comes another very interesting article about the T-6 Texan in that part of the world, along with plenty of photographs of it and its modern counterpart in the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Hawker Beechcraft T-6 Texan II (known in Canadian service as the CT-156 Harvard II). Here's one of their many photographs of the original T-6 (foreground) and its modern replacement (background) together in Canadian skies.
The two aircraft are, of course, almost identical to those in South African service. The original T-6 Texan was built in Canada under license during World War II, while South Africa received examples built by North American Aviation in Texas. The modern South African PC-7 Mark II trainer uses the engine of the original, smaller PC-7 with the airframe and avionics of the larger PC-9 model. The PC-9, in turn, was licensed by Pilatus to Beechcraft in the USA, and further developed to meet a trainer requirement for the US Air Force and US Navy, producing the T-6 Texan II shown above.
The link between the old and new Texans (or Harvards) is thus essentially the same for South Africa, Canada and the United States. Somehow - don't ask me why - that knowledge gives me warm fuzzies . . .