Operation: Central and Eastern USA
Model: Harvard Mk. IV
Wing Span: 42' 4"
Length: 29' 6"
Height: 11' 9"
Max Speed: 240 mph
Gross Weight: 5,700 lbs
Power Plant: Pratt & Whitney R1340-AN-1
Fuel Capacity: 110 gallons
Armament: 2 - 30 caliber machine guns.
North American Harvard Mk. IV "J's Bird"
John "Skipper" Hyle is the owner and
operator of this 1952 North American Harvard Mk. IV "J's
Bird" which is available for airshows, flybys, formation
films. Jay Matt Aviation dba "Air Corps
Aerobatics" provides a living history bent to your
airshow, we come in period flight gear and perform an
act based on the World War II Acro Check that every
Allied pilot took in the T-6, SNJ, or Harvard.
The North American Harvard (NA-26) appeared in late
1937, in response to a US Army Air Corps proposal for an
advanced trainer. It immediately attracted orders from
the USAAC, RAF, RCAF and other air forces. The first of
50 Harvard Mk. Is ordered by the Canadian Government
were delivered to the RCAF at Sea Island, Vancouver in
July 1939. By early 1940, the Mk II was on the assembly
line in California with an all metal fuselage replacing
the original tube and fabric structure. 1200 Mk. IIs were
supplied from US sources until Canadian-built Harvards
started rolling off the assembly lines in 1941.
In August 1938, Noorduyn Aviation of Montreal
farsightedly signed an agreement with North American to
build Harvards under licence. When the British
Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) came into being
in December 1939, Noorduyn received its first orders and
once into production went on to construct nearly 2,800
Harvard IIBs for the RCAF and the RAF, between 1940 and
In Canada, Harvard IIBs were used as advanced
trainers with the BCATP at 15 Service Flying Training
Schools (SFTS) spread across the nation. They helped
pilots make the transition from low-powered primary
trainers like the DH Tiger Moth or Fleet Finch to high
line fighters. The Harvard was well
suited to this role as it had habits to teach
inexperienced pilots to respect the Spitfires and
Hurricanes they would meet in the future.
At the end of WWII, although the RCAF retained the
Harvard as a trainer, a large number of
them were declared surplus and sold-off to civilian
operators. The RCAF soon regretted doing this, for by
1949 the Cold War with the Soviet Union was in full
swing and the RCAF needed trainers again urgently. 100
T-6J Texans were leased temporarily from the USAF and a
further 270 Harvards, now the Mk. IV version, were
ordered from Canadian Car & Foundry in Thunder Bay. The RCAF kept the Harvard Mk.
IV on as a trainer for a
further 15 years, before finally retiring it in 1966.
A total of 20,110 Harvards/T-6s/SNJs were built
between 1938 and 1954, 3,370 of them in Canada.
J's Bird was received by the Royal Canadian Air Force
(RCAF) on 9 September 1952 and served with No. 1 Flying
Instructor's School at RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario.
The aircraft was stuck from the records on 15 August
1966. It also spent some time with the Canadian Warplane
Heritage, a flying museum similar to the American
Airpower Heritage in this country, based in Ontario,
Canada. After that it ended up in Vancouver, British
Columbia where it was used in an aerial combat
operation; "fighter pilot for a day" if you will. That
explains the protrusions on the left wing tip and the
vertical stabilizer; those are cameras. The left wing
also has a laser emitter and the ADF boot is laser
permeable. The smoke system was automatic, so when you
are "lazed" it comes on to show a "hit". The machine gun
in the right wing root would have only been on some
variants of the Harvard and T-6; this one is operated by
The paint scheme represents that applied to training
and administrative aircraft in Britain during World War
II. The serial number you see actually belongs to a
Harvard Mk II that saw service in England during that
period. In that sense it is completely accurate, or
inaccurate, depending on your point of view.
Please fill out your contact information
below if you are interested in contacting
the operator, or representative,
of this Warbird and you require more information for booking this
aircraft at your Airshow