Sk 16 - North American/Noorduyn Harvard/Texan (1947-1972)

Page 1 (6)

In 1947, the Sk 14 - North American NA-16, built under license in Sweden  - had been used for ten years as the standard advanced (Type II) trainer in the Air Force. But now the demand of an aircraft with retractable landing gear, controllable-pitch  propeller, more powerful engine and on the whole more advanced and modern equipment led to the purchase of the classic American trainer aircraft which is known under names as Harvard, Texan and SNJ. In the Swedish Air Force, the aircraft was designated Sk 16

More than 17.000 airframes in different variants and under a multitude of designations were built. It was without competition the most important trainer of the Western Alliance during the WWII. The type was designed by North American and the first prototype of this all-metal, cantilever low-wing monoplane flew in 1935. This first version had two open cockpits and fixed landing gear.  

The design was further developed with a glazed enclosure over the cockpits. The tailwheel remained fixed, but the main landing gear was now inward retracting. As a standard engine, the relatively strong Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp engine, delivering around 600 hp, was chosen. This version of  the aircraft was ordered by the USAAF and US Navy, designated AT-6 Texan and SNJ respectively. The name Texan was applied to the aircraft built in Dallas and was retroactively applied to all aircraft built in the other production plant, which was located at Inglewood, California. The RAF and the Commonwealth air forces operated the aircraft in large numbers under the designation Harvard. Many aircraft were manufactured under license in Canada and Australia. Improved and specialised models were built up to the T-6F, SNJ-6 and Harvard Mk 4 variants.  

In the late forties and early fifties almost 2000 early model T-6s were remanufactured, and received the designation T-6G. They came from USAF and USN stock, but also from the civilian market. They had been sold (almost given away !) by the military arms only a few years earlier, but were now badly needed for the USAF training as the introduction of the replacement of the T-6, the T-28 gave problems. 

The Swedish Air Force totally procured 257 Sk 16s. The designations of all kinds can make the whole thing a bit complicated at first sight! 

-145 Harvards, manufactured in Canada by Noorduyn as the AT-16 (which is a development of North American’s designation NA-77) were shipped to Sweden in 1947. (In fact only 144 were manufactured in Canada; Fv 16145 was a US manufactured former RCAF machine !). The surplus market was flooded with aircraft, so these first aircraft were bought to a very favourable price although the running time in general was very low (or nearly none). The aircraft in this first batch got the sub-designation Sk 16A with the Air Force numbers 16001-16145.  

-112 aircraft were purchased in 1950. Now the stock of surplus aircraft was more limited. As mentioned above, T-6s were being remanufactured as T-6Gs. The running time of the aircraft in this second batch was considerably longer. 106 were of the variants AT-6A, -B, SNJ-3, SNJ-4 (Sk 16B) and 6 of the naval variant SNJ-2 (Sk 16C). Air Force numbers 16201-16312. 

Most of the Sk 16s were naturally provided to the Air Force Flight Academy (F 5) at Ljungbyhed, but they flew also at all other Wings of the Air Force. Except for training, they were used for weather flying and liaison. All aircraft were fitted with the Pratt & Whitney R-1340-AN-1 air-cooled radial engine of 600 hp.  

Photo at top: of Sk 16A (Harvard IIB, Noorduyn AT-16ND, SwAF/n, 16109 preserved and displayed at Flygvapenmuseum. It was built in 1942 in Canada and is ex-RCAF FE632. Construction number 14-366.  

Sk 16A: Length: 8,84m . Span: 12,81 m. MTOW: 2.400 kg. Max. speed: 290 km/h. 

Many thanks to Benno “T6” Goethals, , Rijen, the Netherlands, for helping me with this text!

Download Benno Goethals detailed list of all Swedish Sk 16's as a zipped Excel-file. JUST CLICK HERE!


For the Model Builder

Heller has produced a classic plastic model kit of the T-G6 Texan in scale 1:72. You have to get Swedish decals to build model of Sk 16, but such decals sold by many web-shops. Heller catalouge number 276.




Stamp from the Republic of Congo that depicts a North American SNJ-2 (SK 16 C in the Swedish Air Force).

This stamp from the Republic of Congo depicts a North American SNJ-2 (SK 16 C in the Swedish Air Force). The stamp was issued in 1996.





Sk 16A # 16033 (Harvard IIB, Noorduyn AT-16ND). C/n 14-772. Ex. RCAF FH138. Markings of Air Force Wing F 17 at Kallinge near Ronneby. Now on display at Svedino’s Automobile and Aviation Museum at Ugglarp near Falkenberg, in the original markings of the War Flying School (F 5) at Ljungbyhed. Photo by Lars E. Lundin at F 17 1st of June, 1969.  






Military Aviation in Sweden - main page

© Lars Henriksson

Updated 2010-08-04

Custom Search