Aircraft in the Collection
Aircraft of the BCATP
The Yale is a fixed undercarriage, lower powered, lighter weight version of the well known Harvard. Both the Yale and Harvard evolved from the North American Aviation NA-16 which was first flown in 1935. It was designed to fill the middle role in the American's three tier training program in which pilots advanced through primary, basic, and advanced phases.
Early in 1939, 230 Yales were ordered by the Government of France and assembly began in North American's California facility. Just over one hundred had been delivered when France fell to the Nazis in 1940. The Luftwaffe made use of these Yales until lack of spare parts forced their grounding. 119 were en-route to the French when France was fell. They were then diverted to St. Pierre and Miquelon, where they were taken over by the British, shipped to Toronto, and transferred to the RCAF for use as trainers for use in the rapidly expanding BCATP program. The aircraft were still in shipping crates, just as they had been prepared for shipment to France from the factory in the US -complete with French markings and stenciling, instruments calibrated in metric measurements, and control linkages which operated differently from North American linkage.
Initially the Yales served as advanced trainers in the BCATP's two phase flying training system. When sufficient numbers of the higher performance Harvard became available the Yales were relegated to the role of wireless operator training. This conversion involved gutting the rear cockpit and fitting it with radio equipment of the type used on operational fighters and bombers. These aircraft could be recognized in flight by their nose high attitude caused by the large, heavy radio sets. This weight also caused the engines to be overworked and often in need of repair or overhaul. In total, 119 Yales served with the RCAF, the last one being retired in 1946.