North American BC-1

The Texan originated from the North American NA-16 prototype (first flown on April 1, 1935) which, modified as the NA-26, was submitted as an entry for a USAAC “Basic Combat” aircraft competition in March 1937. The first model went into production and 180 were supplied to the USAAC as the BC-1 and 400 to the RAF as the Harvard I. The US Navy received 16 modified aircraft, designated the SNJ-1, and a further 61 as the SNJ-2 with a different engine.

The BC-1 was the production version of the NA-26 prototype, with retractable tailwheel landing gear and the provision for armament, a two-way radio, and the 550-hp (410 kW) R-1340-47 engine as standard equipment. Production versions included the BC-1 (Model NA-36) with only minor modifications (177 built), of which 30 were modified as BC-1I instrument trainers; the BC-1A (NA-55) with airframe revisions (92 built); and a single BC-1B with a modified wing centre-section.

Three BC-2 aircraft were built before the shift to the “advanced trainer” designation, AT-6, which was equivalent to the BC-1A. The differences between the AT-6 and the BC-1 were new outer wing panels with a swept forward trailing edge, squared-off wingtips, and a triangular rudder, producing the canonical Texan silhouette. After a change to the rear of the canopy, the AT-6 was designated the Harvard II for RAF/RCAF orders and 1,173 were supplied by purchase or Lend Lease, mostly operating in Canada as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.

Basic Combat trainer version initial production version with 600hp R-1340-47 engine, Early examples had a round rudder, later examples had a square bottom rudder. 177 built

North American BC-1

North American BC-1. Source: National Museum of the USAF (090624-F-1234K-062)

BC-1A – New longer semi-monocoque fuselage, new outer wing panels angled forward slightly, squared-off wingtips and a triangular rudder, 93 built. Identifiable from later types by blister fairing between undercarriage.

BC-1B – One BC-1A fitted with an AT-6A wing centre section.

BC-1I – BC-1s converted to instrument trainers, 30 modified

BC-2 – Similar to BC-1A and AT-6, modified from NA-36 with details from NA-44, 3 bladed propellers.

Phot0 supplied by Martin Pengelly

Phot0 supplied by Martin Pengelly

North American BC-1