U.S. Navy Training Aircraft From World War II to Today, Part 1


Here’s a scrapbook of U.S. Navy and Marines training aircraft from the World War II years through today. This first edition contains piston-engined aircraft, the next version will be published in a few weeks, and will feature turbine-engined aircraft. 

The Boeing and Stearman Model 75 was produced as the N2S trainer. The initial aircraft were delivered in 1934 and a total of 3,578 aircraft were produced… Stearman merged with Boeing in 1939, thus the dual manufacturer status. The Army Air Corps procured a larger number of this basic airframe, known as the PT-13/17/27 Kaydet. Navy versions were known as the “yellow peril” (along with similar N3N trainers) due to the bright yellow paint is wore as a trainer. 

The Naval Aircraft Factory N3N was ordered on 1935, and the first airframe was delivered in 1936. The design was produced both as a landplane and a floatplane for naval aviator training. The model had longevity, the final examples were retired from service at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1959!



The Vultee SNV was a basic trainer used during World War II. Students moved from the N2S and N3N to the SNV, and later to the SNJ or other advanced trainers. The Army’s BT-13 primary trainer was similar. How the aircraft earned it’s nickname as the “Vibrator” is not difinitavely known, some say it vibrated before an aerodynamic stall, others said that  the cockpit canopy shook during several maneuvers.



The North American SNJ was the navalized T-6 Texan advanced trainer used by the U.S. Army Air Corps. Original orders for the Navy and Army commenced around 1936 for both the T-6 and the SNJ. Different versions of the SNJ included some SNJ-5s with tail hooks for aircraft carrier training, other versions were armed with 30 caliber machine guns for instruction and sometimes as armed liaison aircraft operated closer to war zones. 

The Beech SNB was later identified as the C-45, a militarized variant of the Beech 18 civilian transport. U.S. Army Air Corps versions included the AT-11 Kansan bomber trainer. Different designations, as the SNB and JRB were used for World War II training for photographers and navigators, as well as for transport and light cargo.

The North American T-28 Trojan was used as an advanced trainer, replacing the SNJ trainer. The T-28B was a land-based aircraft, while the T-28C was configured for aircraft carrier training. with a reduced diameter propeller and a tail hook.

The Beech T-34 Mentor was based on the BE-35 Bonanza. Offered as a more economical trainer than the T-28, both types were operated at the same time. T-34s were used ashore, where some T-28s went aboard aircraft carriers during carrier qualifications (never permanently based upon carriers though). After their training days were finished, some Beech T-34s were assigned to recruitment and staff duties for flying currency. The T-34C was a modified trainer with a turboprop engine.

The Convair T-29 was a navigation trainer used after World War II, through to the 1980s. In this photo of a T-29C just about to enter storage at the AMARC boneyard in Tucson AZ, the radar dome, used for radar mapping navigation duties, is still uncovered. 


Be sure to check in again in a few weeks as we complete our second edition of this scrapbook, with turbine-powered U.S. Navy training aircraft.



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