North American BT-9

North American BT-9
BT-9/-14/NJ (NA-64 Yale)
A U.S. Navy NJ-1 in flight, 1938
Role Trainer
Manufacturer North American Aviation
First flight April 1936
Primary user United States Army Air Corps
Number built +260
Unit cost $20,000
Developed from North American NA-16

The North American Aviation BT-9 was a low-wing single piston engine monoplane primary trainer aircraft that served with the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) and other allied countries during World War II. It was a contemporary of the Kaydet biplane trainer and was used by pilots in Basic Flying Training following their completion of Primary in the Kaydet. In United States Navy (USN) service it was designated the NJ-1.


Design and development

The BT-9, designated NA-19 by the manufacturer, evolved from the North American NA-16, which first flew in April 1935. The BT-9 design first took to the skies in April 1936.[1]

Fabric covered the movable surfaces on the tail and wings, as well as the sides of the fuselage from just behind the firewall to the tail. The remainder of the aircraft was metal-covered and featured fixed (non-retractable) landing gear. The Army Air Corps purchased a total of 199 BT-9s, BT-9As and BT-9Bs. Many foreign countries also used variants of this aircraft.

An improved version was the BT-14. It featured a Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior engine versus the Wright R-975 Whirlwind on the BT-9, as well as metal skin replacing the fabric on the fuselage.

Operational history

BT-9 production in 1936.

The NA-64 model retained the fixed undercarriage layout and was built for the French in 1939-40. Just under half were delivered before France surrendered to the Nazis and the remaining aircraft were purchased by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). The RCAF named the type the Yale, and were used initially as intermediate pilot trainers and later as airborne wireless radio trainers. All were sold as scrap post-war but approximately 40 survive today, with about 15 in airworthy condition.

The NA-26, an improved model with retractable landing gear which became the prototype for AT-6 Texan advanced trainer, was developed from the NA-16 design. The Australian CAC Wirraway was also developed from the NA-16.


Source: Warbirds[2]
Prototype aircraft, one built.
Pre-production aircraft, one built.
North American BT-9
Two-seat primary trainer for the USAAC, 42 built.
North American BT-9A
Armed with two 0.30 in (7.62 mm) machine-guns. 40 built.
North American BT-9B
Improved version, 117 built.
North American BT-9C
Similar to the BT-9B, but with some equipment changes, 97 built.
North American BT-9D
One prototype only, which lead to the development of the BT-14.
North American NJ-1
Two-seat primary trainer aircraft for the USN, powered by a 600 hp (447 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1340 radial piston engine, 40 delivered.
North American NA-57
France, 230 delivered. Export version of BT-9. First 30 served with French Navy. Most were captured and used by the German Luftwaffe.
Sweden, 137 built. License built version of NA-16-4M [3]
North American BT-14
Advanced version, powered by a 450 hp (336 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-985-25 radial piston engine, USAAC, 251 delivered.
North American BT-14A
27 BT-14s were converted to take the 400 hp (298 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-985-11 radial piston engine.
North American NA-64 'Yale'
France and Canada, 230 aircraft order. 111 were delivered to France before the surrender in 1940. The remaining 119 aircraft were acquired by the British and delivered to the RCAF, designated the 'Yale'.


 United States

Survivors/Aircraft on display

NA-64 Yale I preserved airworthy in 2006 at the Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum near St Louis in RCAF 1940 markings

There are many surviving NA-64 Yales today because of Ernie Simmons, a farmer from near Tillsonburg, Ontario. Simmons bought over 30 Yales in 1946 and kept them on his farm until he died in 1970.[4] These aircraft were subsequently auctioned in 1970, and have been restored by museums and warbird enthusiasts. Most of the Yales currently in existence came from the Simmons collection.

  • Fundacion Museo del Aire de Honduras - BT-9C exported to Honduras as NA-16-2A
Sk 14
NA-64 Yale

Specifications (BT-9)

General characteristics

  • Crew: two, instructor and student
  • Length: 28 ft (8.5 m)
  • Wingspan: 42 ft (12.8 m)
  • Height: 13 ft 7 in (4.1 m)
  • Loaded weight: 4,470 lb (2,030 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Wright R-975-53, 400 hp (300 kW)


See also

Related development

Related lists


  • Davis, Larry. T-6 Texan in Action (Aircraft Number 94). Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc., 1989. ISBN 0-89747-224-1.
  • Donald, David. American Warplanes of World War II. London: Aerospace Publishing, 1995. ISBN 1 874023 72 7.
  • Fletcher, David C. and MacPhail, Doug. Harvard! The North American Trainers in Canada. San Josef,BC/Dundee,Ont: DCF Flying Books, 1990. ISBN 0-96938-250-2.
  • Hagedorn, Dan. North American NA-16/AT-6/SNJ (WarbirdTech Volume 11). North Branch, MN: Speciality Press, 1997. ISBN 0-93342-476-0.
  • Morgan, Len. Famous Aircraft Series: The AT-6 Harvard. New York: Arco Publishing Co., Inc., 1965.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries: