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Museum Collections
Aircraft in the Collection
Aircraft of the BCATP

[ Photo courtesy Sam Stead ]

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.

The Society's aircraft (serial #64-2157) carried RCAF number 3404. Taken on strength on September 11, 1940, it was posted to No. 6 Service Flying Training School at Dunnville, Ontario. According to records it suffered a Category "C" accident (minor damage) on October 8, 1943. It was declared surplus on October 1, 1946.

Yale 64-2157 was acquired by the Reynolds Aviation Museum. It remained in their collection until 1993 when it was traded to Jonathon (Jon) Spinks, an avid collector/historian who worked with the Nanton Lancaster Society for several years. Following Jon Spinks untimely death in 1995, the Spinks family donated the aircraft to the Society. It will be restored in memory of Jon.

Marcus Stephenson and the restored rear fuselage
and restored tubular framework for the forward fuselage.

Much progress has been made on the museum's Yale restoration including the acquisition of a 'zero-time' engine. The rear fuselage was been completely re-skinned in the museum's restoration hangar and the tubular framework of the forward fuselage completely restored courtesy of Marcus Stephenson of Calgary. More recently, Marcus painted the rear fuselage.

Work has begun on the centre section but due to lack of space and other priorities, the Yale continues to be a 'back-burner' project.

Yale Specifications

Weight (empty):
Weight (gross):
Maximum speed:
Wright R-975; 9 cylinder supercharged radial
48 feet, 1 inch (14.7m)
28 feet, 5 inches (14.8 m)
8 feet, 10 inches (2.7 m)
3247 pounds (1473 kg)
4375 pounds (1985 kg)
170 miles per hour (274 km/h)
700 miles (1127 km)

Clifford Edgar Garbutt was the son of Edgar and Helen Garbutt of Nanton. After graduating as a pilot, he was serving at #2 Wireless School in Calgary. During a familiarization flight on 29 October, 1943 in a North American Yale, the aircraft crashed two miles east of Midnapore. The RCAF crash report stated, "P/O Kennedy, the aircraft's pilot, was demonstrating stalling at a height of 1000 feet and got into a spin from which he did not completely recover. The aircraft hit the ground while in a vertical dive." F/Sgt Garbutt was survived by his wife Melba and son Cliff jr. F/Sgt Garbutt's is the only RCAF headstone in the Nanton Cemetery.

Bomber Command Museum of Canada