Theme Build 6

Trainers

Another theme I likely have little need to introduce. But you all know, I will anyway…

Every nation needed aircraft designed for training. This isn’t quite the “duh” comment that, well, that it actually is. In the early days of aviation there were no such machines, even as actual series production started. But as military aircraft increased in power and specialized capabilities it became more necessary to have specific aircraft a neophyte could acquire basic skills in.
By the time World War II started most Nation’s air arms broke this into several levels of instruction. I’ll present this by US terminology because its what I know best, but every major player did something similar.
US pilot training was broken into Primary, Basic and Advanced. Primary trainers were around 200 horsepower, had fixed (non-retractable) landing gear, fixed pitch propellers and very simple instrumentation. The Stearman is the best known US Primary trainer, deHavilland’s Moth family for the British. Primary training courses established pretty quickly who had the essential tools to be a pilot.
Basic trainers had around 400 horsepower and more sophisticated flight instruments. The most common US Basic trainer was the BT-13 Valiant, which also had a two pitch propeller and 2-Way Radio. From here, it was determined if the trainee would go to single or twin engine Advanced Training. Advanced trainers had at least 600 horsepower, and more or less modern systems all around including retractable landing gear and blind flying instruments. The Texan is the most famous US type.

For this Theme Build I will look at four advanced trainers. And to be clear, all of these are true trainers. Some of you may doubt this when you see the list! So I’m spoiling more here than I prefer to in advance, these are all two seat trainers. My four builds will be a North American AT-6, Mitsubishi A6M, Curtiss AT-9 and a Messerschmitt Me 262.

The first two are pretty simple builds, and apart from noting I have a bit of travel planned in the coming weeks, these should otherwise go quickly. The second two are a little more involved. But I expect this theme will be done by Summer’s end.

About atcDave

I'm 5o-something years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I was an air traffic controller for 33 years and recently retired; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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8 Responses to Theme Build 6

  1. Pierre Lagacé says:

    I especially like the anticipation here.

  2. Scott says:

    The old Monogram AT-6 kit is pretty darn good considering its age. Is that the one you’re using?

    • atcDave says:

      Yes, it is a good kit. And even though it has raised panel lines, I think on an AT-6 that is fitting!
      I do have one of the Ocidental kits also, but that is better for a Harvard. Which I hope to get to someday!

  3. jfwknifton says:

    Nice to end on a cliff hanger. I can guess what the jet will be, and the AT-6, but the Mitsubishi and the Curtiss AT-9 will be a pleasant surprise.

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