Curtiss-Wright AT-9

The Curtiss-Wright AT-9 Jeep was a twin-engined advanced trainer aircraft used by the United States during World War II to bridge the gap between single-engined trainers and twin-engined combat aircraft. The AT-9 had a low-wing cantilever monoplane configuration, retractable landing gear and was powered by two Lycoming R-680-9 radial engines.

AT-9 Jeep
Curtiss AT-9 Jeep.jpg
AT-9A
Role Advanced twin-engined trainer
Manufacturer Curtiss-Wright Corporation
First flight 1941
Primary users United States Army Air Forces
United States Air Force
Produced 1941–1943
Number built 792 (including prototype and AT-9A variant)

DevelopmentEdit

Curtiss-Wright anticipated the requirement for this type of "high-performance" aircraft and designed the Curtiss-Wright CW-25, a twin-engined trainer, which possessed the takeoff and landing characteristics of a light bomber. Using the same basic design as the larger Cessna AT-17 Bobcat, the new CW-25 was designed to simulate the demands of multi-engined operations. The design featured a small layout, grouping two Lycoming R-680-9 radial engines forward and using a retractable tailwheel landing gear to achieve the performance necessary to meet the requirements of an advanced trainer. The single CW-25 prototype acquired for evaluation had a welded steel-tube fuselage structure with the wings, fuselage and tail unit fabric-covered.[1]

Operational historyEdit

 
Curtiss AT-9A under C-76 Caravan's wing at Curtiss-Wright in 1943.

The first prototype Model 25 flew in 1941 and the production version entered service as the AT-9 in 1942. Named the "Fledgling" by Curtiss-Wright, it commonly became known as the "Jeep" in the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF).[2] The prototype CW-25 had a fabric-covered steel tube fuselage and fabric-covered wings and tail units, but production AT-9s were of stressed metal skin construction.[1]

The AT-9 was purposely designed to be less stable and proved to be difficult to fly or land, which made it particularly suitable for teaching new pilots to cope with the demanding flight characteristics of a new generation of high-performance, multi-engined aircraft such as the Martin B-26 Marauder and Lockheed P-38 Lightning.[1] Comedian George Gobel was a flight instructor at Army air bases in Oklahoma for both the AT-9 and B-26.[citation needed]

A total of 491 AT-9s were built before production ended and a new production run of 300 of the generally similar AT-9A commenced.[1]

Because of its difficult flying characteristics the AT-9 was not offered for sale to civilians after the war, although many non-flying examples were given to ground schools for training purposes.

VariantsEdit

CW-25
Prototype with fabric covered fuselage and tail surfaces
AT-9
Production aircraft with stressed-skin covering and two Lycoming R-680-9 radial engines, 491 built.
AT-9A
AT-9 with Lycoming R-680-11 radial engines and revised hydraulic system, 300 built before production ended in February 1943.

OperatorsEdit

  United States

SurvivorsEdit

 
Curtiss AT-9 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force

Two AT-9s survive today with one AT-9A on permanent display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. This aircraft required extensive restoration, and was the product of the museum staff incorporating two incomplete airframes together, along with parts fabricated on site.[3] While the wreckage of an AT-9A recovered from a crash site in 2003 was turned over to the Pima Air & Space Museum for restoration, the aircraft is incomplete and will require a long and extensive restoration for display.[4][failed verification]

Specifications (AT-9)Edit

Data from Curtiss Aircraft 1907–1947[5]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 31 ft 8 in (9.65 m)
  • Wingspan: 40 ft 4 in (12.29 m)
  • Height: 9 ft 10 in (3.00 m)
  • Wing area: 233 sq ft (21.6 m2)
  • Airfoil: root: NACA 23015.9 ; tip: NACA 4410[6]
  • Empty weight: 4,494 lb (2,038 kg)
  • Gross weight: 6,060 lb (2,749 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Lycoming R-680-9 , 295 hp (220 kW) each
  • Propellers: 2-bladed propellers

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 197 mph (317 km/h, 171 kn)
  • Cruise speed: 175 mph (282 km/h, 152 kn)
  • Range: 750 mi (1,210 km, 650 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 19,000 ft (5,800 m)
  • Time to altitude: 10,000 ft (3,000 m) in 8 minutes 36 seconds

See alsoEdit

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists

ReferencesEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d Mondey 2006, p.70.
  2. ^ Shanaberger, Kenneth W. "Curtiss-Wright AT-9 Fledgling/Jeep." Archived 2008-12-01 at the Wayback Machine KensAviation.com, 2008.
  3. ^ "Curtiss AT-9 Jeep/Fledgling". National Museum of the US Air Force. 20 April 2015. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  4. ^ "JEEP". Pima Air & Space Museum. Pimaair.org. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  5. ^ Bowers 1979, p.471.
  6. ^ Lednicer, David. "The Incomplete Guide to Airfoil Usage". m-selig.ae.illinois.edu. Retrieved 16 April 2019.

BibliographyEdit

  • Bowers, Peter M. Curtiss Aircraft, 1907–1947. London: Putnam & Company Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-370-10029-8.
  • Mondey, David. American Aircraft of World War II (Hamlyn Concise Guide). London: Bounty Books, 2006. ISBN 978-0-7537-1461-4.

External linksEdit