Beechcraft AT-10

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1st Lieutenant
May 30, 2011
Cape Canaveral
The most recent issue of the EAA's Vintage Airplane magazine had this shot of the Beechcraft AT-10. Made out of wood, I was surprised to find out they made 2,371 of them between 1942 and 1944. Only one is known to be in existence today.
And here is a photo the magazine has showing manufacture of an AT-10 in WWII. The lady is applying wooden formers for the wing which hold it in place until the glue dries. They put down tape first to ease the removal of the formers.

I was surprised to learn a few years back that in the middle of WWII the USAAF started standardizing on B-25's for twin engine training and continued to use them for that all the way until the late 1950's, with a few still hanaging around until the mid-60's. The B-25 was safer and more reliable than the AT-11, AT-10, AT-9, C-45, etc, and you could also actually use them for something other than just training. They made an excellent "hack" transport and even Gen Jimmy Doolittle had one he used for that, although his was modified with the earlier collector type exhausts.
My Dad attended AF Command and Staff School at Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, AL in late 50s. I joined the Civil Air Patrol, which as the HQ location was filled with all types of surplus a/c. The students could keep current in either base or CAP aircraft, and were encouraged to fly the latter as they were easier/cheaper to maintain. The AF birds were TB-25Js, kept active as they had minimal electrics and hydraulic systems, thus easier to maintain than the Martin or Douglas twins, for example.
CAP cadets were allowed ... even encouraged ... to ride along, and those B-25 flights were popular. We'd opt for the panoramic nose seat, and most of the staff school students were WWII vets. Whether ex-fighter jocks or bomber/transport pushers, these rides were usually conducted at low level, ala Doolittle, with tours of the Tennessee valleys high on the agenda.
A few years later when I was in Naval Air, there were a few PBJs remaining, used as squadron hacks or tow target tugs. For some reason, painted a VERY dark gray-green with day glo orange wing tips and tail feathers.
Bacon because of being a CAP cadet in the 50s and hanging around the airport after drill in uniform so the senior members would have a reason to go flying. They could check out an L-16 or L-5 to take a cadet on an orientation flight. They usually gave us stick time also.
I was a flying crazy modeler, and impressed the CAP by being able to differentiate and identify the variations of similar liaison craft that kept appearing on our flightline. Virtually every civil craft had been tried in the WWII and Korean military, and now all these surplus craft were being released, and CAP was third in line behind the Reserves and Air National Guard units. A lot of them came through Maxwell and Gunter AFB before being dispersed to other units.
My logbook for that time includes a lot of uncommon craft like L-1, L-13, L-15, L-19, PT-26, C-64, U-6, etc.

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