The Curtiss-Wright AT-9

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Curtiss-Wright AT-9

During WWII, the US Army Air Force made significant use of training aircraft. They were single-engine and twin-engine, monoplane or biplane, armed or not, these planes were used extensively as requirements pilots and crews were substantial. These had included a surprisingly small twin-engine only served a single role: train twin-engine combat aircraft pilots, bombers or fighters. It was the Curtiss AT-9 Jeep.

In 1940, the staff of the US Army Air Corps sent word to several manufacturers he was looking for a new aircraft for the training of future pilots twin-engine fighters and bombers. At that time the aircraft used for this type of mission was the Cessna AT-8. Despite good overall qualities that plane remained too unstable to allow for proper training of future bomber pilots. The state of peace, because of the official neutrality of the Americans did not play either for USAAC. However its leaders were preparing for a coming war entrance that seemed no longer any mystery.

Among the manufacturers who responded to the specifications for this new drive Twin figured Curtiss-Wright and CW-25. Externally the aircraft appeared quite unusual, with its short fuselage, engines and its low-power star. However, the political weight of the manufacturer's P-40 fighter was such that the plane was controlled quickly enough.

A first prototype Curtiss CW-25 was commissioned by the US Army Air Corps. It was in the form of a low-wing cantilever monoplane constructed of fabric covered steel tubes. He had a classic retractable landing gear and a conventional empennage. The student pilot and his instructor took seats in a two-seat cockpit side by side with a good field of vision forward, up and down. Propulsion was provided by two radial engines Avco-Lycoming R-680-9 with a unit capacity of 295 hp each driving a two-blade propeller metal. He realized his first flight in early 1941.

The plane was quickly ordered 500 copies under the designation AT-9 Jeep. However the 491st copy the aircraft received the designation AT-9A. Some minor changes had been worn, such as changing engine in favor of R-680-11 300 horsepower. This new version was assembled in 300 copies. It must be said that when the AT-9A appeared America was at war.

The deal had changed dramatically and the US Army Air Force was now needed to train up pilots to fly on his B-25 Mitchell bomber and B-26 Marauder, but also on its fighters to long-range P-38 Lightning and future P-61 Black Widow while developing. Curtiss AT-9 Jeep therefore had a heavy workload.

The aircraft had yet not particularly well regarded by student pilots. He was, it was said at the time, difficult to fly at high altitude, and not very forgiving low-level errors. Yet the instructors who flew over were full of praise for its stability in horizontal flight and its general finesse. This explains why despite a high rate of accident the aircraft remained in service until the end of hostilities.

Note that it was proposed to the Royal Air Force under the Loan, Lease, but the British refused. Indeed also not particularly appreciated its chronic instability. This is partly the Curtiss AT-9 was not used in the United States.

After the war several aircraft were sold to civilian schools, but they used it one bit, as they had tendencies to crash. In 1943 when series production stopped 792 AT-9 Jeep had been produced, including prototype. A figure actually quite high when compared to the wrong mark this airplane image that demanded precision and skill to students formed thereon.

Specifications :   

Crew : 2
Length : 9.650 m
Wing span : 12.29 meters
Height : 2.99 m
Empty weight: 2,011 kg
Takeoff Weight: 2750 kg
Powerplant : 2 × Lycoming R-680-9 devítiválcový air-cooled radial engines, each with an output of 220 kW
Max speed: 317 km / h
Range: 1,207 km

Ceiling: 5791 m

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