The North American SNJ-5 was a U.S. Navy Variant of the Army's AT-6 or the British Harvard. Most of the SNJ's and AT-6'S were manufactured in North American's factory located in Dallas, Texas. For this reason, the planes were called "Texans". The Navy used the SNJ for both pilot training and gunnery training. This advance trainer was Often called the 'Pilot Maker" as it was the 2-place advanced trainer that nearly every WWII pilot had to learn combat flying maneuvers in, before moving on to the P51, P40, Corsair and other single seat fighters. The SNJ was typically equipped with two (2) fixed Browning ANM2 30 caliber machine guns in the wing and right front cowling, plus another rear gunner "flexible" gun. The plane was also designed to handle bombs and rockets.
The Commemorative Air Force - Wisconsin Wing, operates it's 1943 North American SNJ-5 out of the Wing's home airport in Waukesha, Wisconsin. The SNJ preserves a valuable part of our aviation heritage and the Wisconsin Wing is proud to be able to maintain and operate the plane in the Wisconsin and Northern Illinois region of the Great Lakes area. Our SNJ highlights a unique history of the Great Lakes area in World War II, where Navy Pilot training was performed over Lake Michigan, landing on two Aircraft carriers that were converted Great lakes paddle-wheel passenger steamers. In honor of this, our SNJ-5 displays "NAVY Milwaukee" on it's fuselage. The Wing actively performs flyovers for parades, public holiday and military heritage related events, as well as showing the plane in static display at events. We are proud to provide escort service to Stars and Stripes honor flights, as well as give tours of the plane to people of all ages. With it's 600HP Pratt & Whitney radial engine coupled with a Hamilton-Standard propeller, this Warbird has plenty of power and a very distinctive sound, which is exciting for the crowds to hear. We are especially proud to be able to bring veterans of WWII to see the plane and sit in the cockpit to experience once again the sounds, smells, feel and history of this great airplane.
To operate our 73 year old plane in top condition requires a strong dedication to safety and maintenance. We maintain strict schedules for maintenance and follow required overhauls of the engine and key components and systems of the plane. We have strong support in our community for our plane, but also need your support to help us develop needed funds for a future engine overhaul and other critical equipment. Please help us support the mission of the Commemorative Air Force to keep this unique tribute to America's veterans of WWII and the Great Lakes Naval Air training program.