Gulf Coast Wing’s North American
SNJ-5
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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.



The Gulf Coast Wing’s SNJ was built as an AT-6D in 1943 by North American Aviation in Inglewood, CA to fill an Army contract. However, the aircraft was immediately taken over by the Navy, redesignated SNJ-5 and sent to Pensacola Naval Air Station. There it served the rest of the war as an Instrument Trainer teaching pilots the critical skills they would later use in critical situations to save their crew’s lives and bring their aircraft back to base.

Incidentally, both the paint scheme and markings carried by the aircraft today were chosen to match what this aircraft carried during her wartime service. This aircraft remained in Naval Service for many years after the war, stationed at many Naval Air Stations. It was retired in 1960 and sold to a metal scrapper for just $282. The savvy buyer instead rehabilitated the aircraft for his own use.

The aircraft then passed through several owners until finally coming to the Commemorative Air Force in 1991 where it was well cared for by Air Group One in San Diego for many years before coming to the Gulf Coast Wing in 2020.

The Gulf Coast Wing and the Commemorative Air Force are proud to present to you a true veteran of the World War II war effort. Salute!

The SNJ is available for cockpit tours, Living History Flights, and is even available for “fly overs”.

The SNJ tours both independently or as a group with B-17G Texas Raiders and JRB-6 Little Raider. All three aircraft are on the Living History Flight Program providing the public with ride options to suit almost every budget and taste.


Flights on the North American SNJ-5 Texan are just $345     

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