Warbird Thunder flies the SNJ aircraft manufactured by North American Aviation. The SNJ is a historically significant aircraft that was utilized as an advanced trainer by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corp to train “The Greatest Generation” for WWII and Korean Conflict. Nearly every pilot in World War II and Korea trained in a variant of this aircraft.
The Army Air Corp and later U.S. Air Force also flew the same aircraft but with the designation of “T-6 Texan”. More than 15,000 SNJ/T-6 aircraft were built, and it has served in more than 60 countries worldwide – many times in combat by developing countries. The aircraft was retired from U.S. military service in the 1960s but was utilized around the world much longer. In fact, the South African military utilized the T-6 until 1995.
Chris’ aircraft is a 1942 SNJ-2 and is unique for several reasons. It was built in 1942 and is a very early model, only 61 of these variants were ever made and fewer than 11 are flying in the world today.
Mike’s aircraft is a 1943 SNJ-3 and is 80 years old. The SNJ features improvements over the SNJ-2 making it better suited for military student pilots. This particular aircraft also raced at the famed Reno Air Races under the name “Trophy Hunter” with the race number “55”.
Both aircraft are powered by 600-horsepower supercharged Pratt & Whitney R-1340 engines with a 9’ Hamilton-Standard propellers. The signature “bark” a spectator hears is actually the tips of the propeller reaching the speed of sound.