North American SNJ-2 Texan

With a range of designations for the aircraft based upon its branch of service and configuration, the Texan played a vital role as an advanced trainer, providing would-be fighter pilots with a final stepping stone before taking on the higher-performance, single-seat combat aircraft types.

Originally submitted as a Basic Combat Aircraft, North American Aviation’s AT-6 (Advanced Trainer No. 6) became the most widely used Advanced Trainer of WWII. With over 56 sub-variants produced at factories around the world between 1937 and 1953, well over 15,000 examples were produced. Many air arms continued using the type in their training regimes well after WWII, indeed some continued this practice into the 1990s! AT-6s continue to be flown widely as Warbirds today. 

The Museum’s example is a rare and highly original, former US Navy SNJ-2 (S = Scout, N = Trainer, J = North American). The SNJ-2’s unusually shaped rudder is a distinguishing feature for the variant, making it easier to identify when comparing it to other members of the breed.

Flight Training during WWII: The pressing need for pilots in every theater of WWII forced the U.S. military to dramatically condense their pilot training programs. For instance, the Army Air Forces’ originally 36-week training program was soon crammed into just 27 weeks. Each course was divided into three, nine-week phases. The first phase, Primary Pilot Training, included 65 hours of flight time during which a trainee pilot would solo for the first time, flying without an instructor. Those who successfully completed this phase would then enter the Basic Pilot Training program. This course included 75 hours of flying time where, amongst other things, students learned how to fly in formation, how to use their radios, and how to fly on instruments alone. Those graduating from Basic Pilot Training proceeded to the Advanced Pilot Training course. Here they would receive a further 75 hours of flying experience, either in  single-engine or multi-engine service tracks. Those destined to fly fighters would advance to the AT-6, which featured a more powerful engine than the BT-series aircraft they trained with previously and retractable landing gear too. Those destined for multi-engine bomber or transport types, on the other hand, flew aircraft such as the AT-9, AT-10, or AT-17, where they learned how to manage a second engine.

Did You know?

In addition to its official name, Texan, the AT-6 gained another, more significant nickname from those who flew the type – the Pilot Maker.


  • Number Built: 25,635 total Texans (61 SNJ-2 variants)
  • Year Produced: 1940
  • Serial Number:  2011
  • Crew: (2) Instructor Pilot, Student Pilot
  • Current Pilots:


  • Length:  27 ft. 8 3/8 in.
  • Wingspan:  36 ft. 11 3/16 in.
  • Empty Weight:  2,022 lbs.
  • Loaded Weight:  2,736 lbs.
  • Engine:  1x Pratt & Whitney R-1340-AN1 Wasp nine-cylinder, air-cooled, radial piston engine
  • Engine Power:  550 hp


  • Cruising Speed:  150 mph
  • Max Speed:  205 mph
  • Range:  700 miles
  • Ceiling:  21,500 ft.
  • Rate of Climb:  1,200 ft./min. initial


  • Provision for up to 3x 0.30 caliber machine guns for training purposes depending on variant
  • *MAM aircraft are unarmed

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