Curtiss-Wright AT-9 Jeep Color Photographs

The Curtiss-Wright AT-9 was an advanced twin-engined trainer used by the USAAF during WWII. It was officially named the “Fledgling”, but was generally known as the “Jeep”.
The Jeep was powered by two Lycoming R-680-9 radial engines, each producing 295 hp (220 kW). 491 AT-9s were built. Production then shifted to the AT-9A, of which 300 were built. The main difference between the two variants was the introduction of the Lycoming R-680-11 engine, but the two were externally virtually indistinguishable. (NASM, Hans Groenhoff collection)
The Jeep was demanding to fly and was less stable than most trainers. The increased demands on the student pilots were intentional, to better prepare them for the higher-performance twin-engine types then in service such as the B-26 Marauder. (NASM, Hans Groenhoff collection)
The type was intended to transition student pilots from single-engine trainers to twins. Here is an AT-9 with T-6 Texans in the background.
While a sleek and attractive aircraft, the AT-9 was not offered for sale to civilians after the war due to the reduced stability margins compared to other trainers.
A successful design, the Jeep remains a relatively obscure type and is little known today.  One surviving example has been restored and is on display at the National Museum on the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.  Dora Wings produces an injection-molded kit in 1/48 scale, while Pavla produces one in 1/72.

Wright R-1820 Cyclone Engine Walk Around

Photographs taken at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Dayton, Ohio





Photographs taken at the Air Zoo, Kalamazoo, Michigan








The Wright R-1820 Cyclone 9 is an American radial engine developed by Curtiss-Wright, widely used on aircraft in the 1930s through 1950s. It was produced under license in France as the Hispano-Suiza 9V or Hispano-Wright 9V, and in the Soviet Union as the Shvetsov M-25.  It was utilized in the following aircraft:

Bloch MB.221

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress

Boeing 307

Brewster F2A

Curtiss AT-32-A Condor

Curtiss SBC-4 Helldiver

Curtiss P-36 Mohawk

Curtiss SC Seahawk

Curtiss-Wright CW-21

Douglas A-33

Douglas B-18

Douglas DC-2

Douglas DC-3 (DST, G-102 and G-202)

Douglas Super DC-3, R4D-8 / C-117

Douglas DC-5

Douglas DF Wright SGR-1820G-2

Douglas SBD Dauntless

FMA AeMB.2 Bombi

General Motors FM-2 Wildcat

Grumman TF-1 / C-1 Trader

Grumman E-1 Tracer

Grumman FF

Grumman F3F

Grumman XF5F

Grumman XP-50

Grumman HU-16 Albatross

Grumman J2F Duck

Grumman S-2 Tracker

Lockheed 14

Lockheed Lodestar

Lockheed Hudson

Martin B-10

North American NA-44

North American O-47

North American P-64

North American T-28B/C/D Trojan

Northrop YC-125 Raider

Piasecki H-21

Polikarpov I-16

Ryan FR Fireball

Sikorsky S-58/HUS/HSS/H-34

Vultee V-1

  • From Wikipedia

Curtiss-Wright C-76 Caravan Color Photographs

The Curtiss-Wright C-76 Caravan was the result of a 1941 USAAC specification for a high-wing, twin engine transport aircraft. The aircraft was to have the same performance specifications of the successful Douglas C-47 transport then in production, but the airframe was to be of all-wooden construction in anticipation of wartime shortages of Aluminum. Seen here is 42-86913, one of eleven YC-76 development aircraft produced, with Curtiss-Wright AT-9 “Jeep” twin-engined trainers. (NASM, Hans Groenhoff collection)
The airframe was constructed of Mahogany plywood, which led to a heavy airframe. Power was provided by two Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp radial engines, each rated at 1,200 hp. Even so, the Caravan proved to be underpowered, and failed to meet performance requirements. (NASM, Hans Groenhoff collection)
The first flight was on 03MAR43. The test pilots reported severe vibrations. On its second flight the prototype came apart in the air, killing both aircrew. A week later the tail assembly came off a second Caravan in flight, again resulting in the loss of the crew and the aircraft. Additional testing revealed instability and numerous weaknesses in the wooden structure. Efforts to correct these problems only added more weight, thus further decreasing performance. (NASM, Hans Groenhoff collection)
With a total of twenty-five Caravans built, the C-76 program was cancelled on 03AUG43. The effort was a costly failure, and the projected shortage of Aluminum never became an issue as the industry was able to increase production capacity. Curtiss shifted production over to the C-46 Commando, a very successful transport design. (NASM, Hans Groenhoff collection)
Today, the C-76 Caravan is relatively unknown, even amongst aviation enthusiasts. Its construction history is a cautionary tale, and its poor performance and short active life ensure it will remain among the forgotten aviation designs. That is, unless you are interested in 1/72 scale. Anigrand released a resin kit of the C-76 Caravan in 2019, proving once again that we live in the Golden Age of modeling! (NASM, Hans Groenhoff collection)

Curtiss-Wright P-40 Warhawk Production Color Photographs Part III

A series of color photographs detailing the production of early P-40 Warhawks at the Curtiss-Wright Plant at Buffalo, New York, Summer 1941.  With war in Europe and U.S. Army Air Corps orders exceeding the normal capacity of the plant, production spilled out into the open air around the factory.  LIFE Magazine photographer Dmitri Kessel took this series of pictures, part III.

A finished P-40 taxis at the Buffalo Airport.
Running up the engine during final assembly.
Delivery pilots in flight gear, with brand-new Warhawks.
A fitter at work inside a fuselage at the Curtiss plant.
Final engine adjustments.
A good view of the radiator assembly under the engine.
Details of the propeller markings.
A Warhawk on a test flight. “247” is marked on the cowling ant the vertical tail.
“247” again, showing the standard four-position placement of the national insignia.
A new Warhawk in formation with another Curtiss design, an SBC-4 Helldiver.

American Volunteer Group Flying Tigers color photographs here:

Curtiss-Wright P-40 Warhawk Production Color Photographs Part II

A series of color photographs detailing the production of early P-40 Warhawks at the Curtiss-Wright Plant at Buffalo, New York, Summer 1941.  With war in Europe and U.S. Army Air Corps orders exceeding the normal capacity of the plant, production spilled out into the open air around the factory.  LIFE Magazine photographer Dmitri Kessel took this series of pictures, part II.

A busy photograph showing aircraft in various stages of completion outside the Buffalo plant. This photograph is often shown reversed, but the fuselage access door under the insignia was on the aircraft’s port side.
A good view of workstands for the diorama builder.
Workers posing for the photographer with an unpainted Warhawk.
Several details visible here, the engine has leaked a lot of fluid.
Watertower with the Curtiss logo. A wide variety of completion progress between the airframes visible here.
Two fuselages on stands outside the plant.
Even the area outside the plant was crowded, although not as badly as inside.
Another photograph normally seen reversed, given away by the pitot tube on the port wing of the aircraft in the background.
Details of the engine, with the assembly number marked on the cowling.
A view of the paint shop, with components being coated with zinc chromate primer.
The transportation arrangement for the trip to the Buffalo airport.
When transporting the aircraft by truck wasn’t fast enough, the aircraft were flown to the Buffalo airport from the Curtiss parking lot. A P-40 takes off in the background.

Part III here:

Curtiss-Wright P-40 Warhawk Production Color Photographs Part I

A series of color photographs detailing the production of early P-40 Warhawks at the Curtiss-Wright Plant at Buffalo, New York, Summer 1941.  With war in Europe and U.S. Army Air Corps orders exceeding the normal capacity of the plant, production spilled out into the open air around the factory.  LIFE Magazine photographer Dmitri Kessel took this series of pictures.

The assembly line moves outside, which makes engine tests a bit easier.
Tail assemblies in primer.
Wing assemblies, showing useful details of the flaps and wheel wells.
Fitting the canvas cover into the wheel well in the wing. These were sometimes removed in the field.
Working on the underside of the wing panels. Flap details are visible again in the background.
Crowded conditions inside the plant. Note the style and color of the “ARMY” lettering under the port wing, “U.S.” was under the starboard.
Stacks of wing spars.
Fuselages early in the construction process.
Fuselages in various stages of completion, again note the crowded conditions.
Engine tests outside. Note the identification code taped to the fuselage in the foreground.
Tanks in the paint shop receiving primer.
A bonus photograph of a wingtip from another Curtiss design, a rather obscure type in production at the same time as the Warhawks. Any guesses as to the aircraft?

Part II here:

Curtiss-Wright C-46 Commando Color Photographs Part IV

All photographs from the NASM Hans Groenhoff collection.

A fine photograph of a C-46A in natural metal, with OD / NG camouflaged aircraft in the background. The national insignia became standardized with the insignia blue border in August 1943, the transition from OD / NG to natural metal occurring late in the same year.

A C-46A in flight wearing the red bordered national insignia which was authorized briefly during the summer of 1943.

A beautiful “glamor shot” of a NMF finish C-46A leading another in camo.

A standard International farm tractor in service as an aircraft tug, perhaps he should secure the boarding ladder before attempting to move the aircraft?

A line-up of C46D’s and P-40N’s outside of the Curtiss factory for a presentation ceremony to highlight production for the Press. This appears to coincide with the transition from Olive Drab to natural metal finish as evidenced by the P-40’s.

An interesting perspective of a C-46D. Wheel hubs were left in natural metal, even on camouflaged aircraft.

A line-up of C-46E’s. Note the barred national insignia is carried on the underside of the starboard wing, a quick way of determining if the image has been reversed. Also, the insignia is painted perpendicular to the fuselage, not parallel to the leading edge of the wing.

The C-46E differed from other Commandoes by having “stepped” cockpit glazing which makes them resemble the Douglas C-47 Dakota. Other differences are the three-bladed props and fuller wingtip contours.

A fine study of a C-46E from the nose. The “double bubble” fuselage shape was a Curtiss innovation and is still in use on airliner designs today.

Seventeen C-46E’s were produced, but they never left the continental United States and were declared surplus at the end of the war. All were purchased by Slick Airways which provided cargo services for the oil industry. Slick purchased the brand-new aircraft for the princely sum of $14,530 apiece.

Part I here:

Curtiss-Wright C-46 Commando Color Photographs Part III – Exterior Details

All photographs from the NASM Hans Groenhoff collection.

Technicians make adjustments to the Pratt & Whitney R-2800-51 radial engine on this C-46A. The inside of the nacelle is in natural metal with stenciling visible.
Another view inside the engine panels, this time on the port engine. The panels locked up out of the way allowing for easy access.
A view from under the nacelle showing the arrangement of cooling slots and cowl flaps. Curtiss engineers located the cowl flaps on the underside of the nacelle so as to not disturb the airflow over the wing and thus reduce lift.
Hydraulic fluid leaking through the fuselage panel seams can be seen in many photos showing the underside of the nose. The streamlined teardrop fairing housed the direction-finding antenna and was commonly called the “football”.
Another staged photograph of troops and Jeeps being loaded into a C-46. This angle gives a good view of the Curtiss Electric four-bladed propellers.
This photograph would be interesting enough just for showing details of the cargo door interior, but what is particularly fascinating is what is being loaded – the nose section of a Sikorsky R-4 helicopter. The R-4 was the world’s first helicopter to enter large-scale production.
This view gives a good impression of the size of the C-46’s vertical stabilizer.
Nice details of engine maintenance, including the configuration of the work stand.
A Curtiss technician on top of the starboard nacelle showing details of the exhaust and cooling arrangement. Exhaust staining and oil spills are weathering opportunities for skilled modelers.
A C-46E showing the Troop Carrier Command logo on the nose. Note the stepped “airliner” windscreen and three-bladed prop of the “E” model.

Part IV here: