a bit about the SNJ from the Naval Museum
Object Desciption Delivered 16 September 1943, the SNJ-5C Texan on display in the museum spent almost its entire service life flying from Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Florida, and surrounding airfields. Included were stints flying as a gunnery trainer and assignment to Training Squadron (VN) 6, Eighth Naval District and Training Squadrons (VT) 6 and 4 at Corry and Saufley Fields respectively. In 1948, the aircraft was assigned briefly as a utility aircraft on board the carrier Kearsarge (CV 33) and it subsequently flew in Fleet Air Service Squadron (FASRON) 2 at NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island, and Attack Squadron (VA) 95 at Naval Auxiliary Air Station (NAAS) Charlestown, Rhode Island. The aircraft was later transferred to the Argentine Navy, in which it flew operationally until eventually acquired by Warbirds West of Compton, California. It arrived at the museum in 1984. The aircraft is displayed in the markings of one assigned to NAAS Barin Field during the 1950s.
Notes The first design to carry the name of North American Aviation, Inc., the SNJ Texan was a premier aircraft of which any company could be proud, with over 17,000 examples delivered to the U.S. military and numerous foreign nations. The aircraft took shape as an open cockpit monoplane incorporating fixed landing gear and fabric covering on the fuselage. However, an enclosed canopy appeared on the first production versions delivered to the Army Air Corps and Navy, the latter service designating it the NJ-1. With the introduction of the SNJ-1, the Texan evolved into an all-metal aircraft with retractable landing gear, the latter trait greatly improving performance.
The Navy procured its first NJ-1s 1936, and aviators were still logging hours in SNJs into the late-1950s. During the World War II era, the SNJ served the purpose of transitioning fledgling pilots from biplanes to monoplanes, and they were also employed as gunnery and instrument trainers. In addition, many a carrier pilot of the 1950s logged his first traps in a Texan on the deck of one of the many training carriers that operated in the Gulf of Mexico off Pensacola. An SNJ played an important role in the development of the modern aircraft carrier when it was utilized in 1953 to test day/night touch-and-go and arrested landings and takeoffs in winds of varying force and direction on the Navy's first angled deck aircraft carrier, Antietam (CVA 36). Though designed as trainers, Air Force versions of the aircraft flew combat missions as forward air controllers and export Texans fired weapons in small-scale wars in Asia and Africa. In addition, many a Hollywood movie, most notably the Pearl Harbor epic Tora Tora Tora, employed modified SNJs in the role of Japanese Zero fighters.
Specifications for SNJ-5 Texan
Manufacturer: North American Aviation, Inc.
Dimensions: Length: 29 ft., 6 in.; Height: 11 ft., 8 ½ in.; Wingspan: 42 ft., ¼ in.
Weights: Empty: 4,158 lb.; Gross: 5,300 lb.
Power Plant: One 550 HP Pratt & Whitney R-1340-AN-1
Performance: Maximum Speed: 205 M.P.H. at 5,000 ft.; Service Ceiling: 21,500 ft.; Range: 750 miles
Armament: Two fixed forward-firing .30-in. guns and provision for one flexible-mounted .30-in gun in rear cockpit
Crew: Instructor and student
Aircraft in the Museum Collection
SNJ-5C (BuNo 51849)- On indoor static display
SNJ Cutaway- On indoor static display
SNJ-6 (BuNo 112121)- On outdoor static display
SNJ-5 (BuNo 52020)- On loan to USS Lexington Museum on the Bay, Corpus Christi, Texas
SNJ-5B (BuNo 51968)- On loan to Ozark Military Museum Association, Fayetteville, Arkansas
SNJ-6 (BuNo 112161)- On loan to Naval Air Station (NAS) Whiting Field, Florida