top of page

AT-6 Harvard

World War II American training machine.

Basic parameters


Year of manufacture




1 886




km / h

Travel speed

1 + 1

Number of persons

About the Plane

Harvard, now based in Točná, is only "one of many", but in a way it is one of some 15,000 Texans and Harvards made, whose "service history" has been long, successful and relatively well mapped.

The Harvards, as the British Commonwealth called this type (in the United States it was referred to in the Air Force as AT-6, or later T-6, in the Navy as SNJ, both named Texan), carried on their shoulders the overwhelming part of continuing training of Allied fighter pilots in western part of the world. Perhaps only the British Miles Master could compete with him for his significance, but only remotely. It can be said that it would be difficult to find a fighter in the USA, trained during the war and in the first decade after it, who had never encountered this type.

Although the material resources of the United States seemed inexhaustible, there were still fears of problems with their availability, and so the effort was to save metal where less strategic materials could come in, such as wood. Therefore, in one version of the type, marked as AT-6C, respectively. SNJ-4, or in Britain Harvar Mk.IIa, replaced in the rear of the fuselage and on the tail surfaces dural wood.

12.81 m

8.84 m

3.57 m

23.6 m2

1,886 kg

2,548 kg

335 km / h

233 km / h

7,400 m

1,175 km

Pratt & Whitney R-1340-AN-1 Wasp

600 HP / 447 kW

135 l / h

440 l

2 pilots




Bearing surface

Weight of empty machine

Take - off weight

Maximal speed

Travel speed



Power unit



Tank capacity

Number of passengers

About the AT6 Harvard

Continuation of text from the yellow box ...

Our Harvard was also produced in this series in 1942. Over time, it turned out that the situation with metals will not be so bad and other versions (AT-6D, SNJ-5 and Harvard Mk.III and following) were again all-metal. A large part of the "semi-wooden" Texans and Harvards thus ended up in warehouses, and from there they were gradually pulled out and rebuilt into all-metal as needed. And that was the war destiny of our machine. After production on June 18, 1942 in Dallas as a naval SNJ-4, it was taken over by the US Navy at the Corpus Christi training base, but in the following years it flew only a few hours, which indicates more occasional conservation flights than use in training. Shortly after the war, he was stored and awaited his future.

In 1952, however, he began to shine for better times. It was purchased by Volitan Air services, converted to an all-metal replacement by the rear of the fuselage, modified to the AT-6D standard (change of electrical network from 12V to 24V) and further to the "Harvard" standard according to the requirements of the South African Air Force (SAAF). This also included a change in the fuel system and other details. Subsequently, he was delivered on October 15, 1952 to South Africa, where he was to spend the next almost 45 years in active service.

The Harvards at the SAAF have done a tremendous amount of work in pilot training, from World War II to the 1990s. They stayed in the service for so long due to the embargo that was then imposed on South Africa due to Apartheid policy, so it was not possible to buy new equipment. By the time they ended (Autumn 1995), for many years they were the last aircraft of this type in service.

When the Harvards ended up with the SAAF, some of them were offered to civilians. The interest was quite considerable, these aircraft were maintained until the last moment by the military air force according to high standards and were never "attacked by DIY". Most have even retained their original color, so among them it is still possible to find pieces that still bear the color from the time of service, which is an absolute rarity in piston warbirds today.

And that's the case with our Harvard. It was put back into operation in the USA in 1998 and flew until 2016, when it was bought at Točná with the intention of serving exactly what it was made for - that is, to train pilots of single-engine piston fighters. He ended his long journey by ship and air in February 2017 and has since been part of a collection of aircraft based at Točná Airport.

Maybe your paint will come in comparison with other planes that have been lost. Yes it is. However, with the exception of orange, which was restored in 2005, it was sprayed more than 30 years ago when he was still serving with the SAAF, so it has a historical value that we are trying to maintain.

bottom of page