Harvard I/NA-57/Sk 14
|NA-16-2A/NA-42 "FAH-21" displayed outside at the Honduras Air Museum at Toncontín|
|Manufacturer||North American Aviation|
|First flight||1 April 1935|
|Primary users||United States Army Air Corps|
Royal Australian Air Force
Swedish Air Force
French Air Force
|Produced||1935 to 1939|
|Variants||North American BT-9 |
|Developed into||North American T-6 Texan |
North American P-64
The North American Aviation NA-16 was the first trainer aircraft built by North American Aviation, and was the beginning of a line of closely related North American trainer aircraft that would eventually number more than 17,000 examples, notably the T-6 Texan family.
On 10 December 1934, James Howard "Dutch" Kindelberger, John L. "Lee" Atwood, and H.R. Raynor sketched out the specifications for the NA-16. A key characteristic for the advanced trainer was a closed canopy.
The NA-16 is a family of related single-engine, low-wing monoplanes with tandem seating. Variants could have an open cockpit (the prototype and the NA-22) or be under a glass greenhouse that covered both cockpits. On some variants, the rear of the canopy could be opened for a gunner to fire to the rear. A variety of air-cooled radial engines, including the Wright Whirlwind, Pratt & Whitney Wasp and Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior of varying horsepowers, could be installed depending on customer preferences. The fuselage was built up from steel tubes and normally fabric covered; however, later versions were provided with aluminum monocoque structures.
During the development of the design, a six-inch stretch was made by moving the rudder post aft. Many versions had a fixed landing gear, but later versions could have retractable gear, mounted in a widened wing center section (which could have either integral fuel tanks or not). Most had a straight trailing edge on the outer wing while again, some had the wing trailing edge swept forward slightly in an attempt to fix a problem with stalls and spins. Several different rudders were used, with early examples having a round outline, intermediate examples having a square bottom on the rudder (Harvard I) and late examples using the triangular rudder of the AT-6 series, due to a loss of control at high angles of attack with the early types. Horizontal and vertical tails were initially covered in corrugated aluminum, but later examples were smooth-skinned, and the horizontal stabilizer was increased in chord near its tips on later versions.
The NA-16 flew for the first time on 1 April 1935, by Eddie Allen. An enclosed cockpit version of the NA-16 was submitted to the United States Army Air Corps for performance tests as a basic trainer on 27 May 1935. The Army accepted the trainer for production but with some detail changes, including a larger engine and faired landing gear modifications. The modified NA-16 was redesignated by North American as the NA-18, with production examples entering Air Corps service as the North American BT-9 (NA-19). The U.S. Army Air Corps ordered 42 BT-9s, equipped with the Wright R-975 Whirlwind engine, and 40 BT-9As, which could be armed with .30 cal. Browning M-1 machine guns. In 1936, an order was placed for 117 BT-9Bs, without armament. A total of 67 BT-9Cs (NA-29) were built, using the same R-975-7 engine.: 20–21, 29–31, 33, 36, 214 Similar aircraft continued to be sold outside the U.S. under the NA-16 designation.
By the time of the U.S. entry into WWII, the NAF had built 1631 N-16 series aircraft. Of that total, 1043 were for foreign countries, while the remainder were for the U.S. Army Air Corps and Navy.: 73
The Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation produced 755 units of a modified version of the NA-16-2K (NA-33) known there as the Wirraway between 1939 and 1946. The units built included 40 CA-1s (Wirraway I), 60 CA-3s, 32 CA-5s, 100 CA-7s, 200 CA-8s, 188 CA-9s, and 135 CA-16s. The CA-16s were called the Wirraway IIIs, while previous models were called Wirraway IIs.: 53–56
Experience with the NA-16-4P and deteriorating political relations with the US led to the local development of the I.Ae. D.L. 21, which shared the NA-16 fuselage structure; however it proved too difficult to produce. As a result of this, an entirely new design (the I.Ae. D.L. 22) was built instead; it had similar configuration, but was structurally different and optimized to available materials.
The NA-16-4RW and NA-16-4R inspired the development of the Kyushu K10W when the Imperial Japanese Navy instructed Kyushu to develop something similar. The resulting aircraft owed little to the NA-16, however Allied Intelligence saw so few examples that the error was not corrected and some drawings show a modified NA-16.
Listing includes aircraft built specifically under NA-16 designation for export, and similar aircraft built for use by the United States armed forces.
When the North American NA-16 was first conceived, five different roles were intended for the design, designated NA-16-1 thru NA-16-5:
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era