In August 2020 the Gulf Coast Wing proudly announced the arrival of the newest member of its growing fleet: A North American SNJ-5 Texan. This beautiful example of America’s premier WWII advanced trainer immediately joined the Wing’s other two aircraft, B-17G Texas Raiders and JRB-6 Little Raider on the touring and rides circuit where the aircraft immediately became a crowd favorite.
Like a growing number of Texas residents, this SNJ is an ex-Californian, having been lovingly cared for by the CAF’s Air Group One in San Diego. The Gulf Coast Wing is honored to continue the tradition of great care and responsibility that comes with the assignment of this aircraft.
Regardless of service branch, during WWII virtually all US cadets had to master the North American Texan before earning the coveted wings of a pilot. The wartime shortened training regimen was completed in just seven months and included just 200 flight hours for pilots headed to the combat zone. Of those, the final 75 hours were logged in the Texan. Designated the AT-6 in Army service and the SNJ in the Navy, the Texan was thus universally known as “The Pilot Maker”. Once a pilot had their wings, they continued on to aircraft specific training.
Production of AT-6/SNJ Texans by North American and others would continue through 1952 with over 15,000 examples produced. No less than 62 countries used the Texan in their pilot training programs during its illustrious career. A few operators even pressed it into combat service! Sixty years after the prototype first took to the air, the last Texan was retired by the South African Air Force in 1995.
Today approximately 350 former SNJ’s and AT-6’s continue to be flown by private owners, airshow teams, and preservation societies such as the CAF. Wherever there is an airshow, you can be sure to see a Texan.
Warbird flights start at $380 on the T6 trainer, and at $525 on the B-17.
Fans who purchase flights on Texas Raiders must also pre-purchase airshow admission tickets separately, as well as parking reservations. Go to the tickets page to purchase tickets to the airshow and to make parking reservations. Be advised that fans who have flight reservations must be on site at the airshow prior to 1:30 PM, after which the air show gates will close to arrivals.