Boeing Stearman PT-17 Kaydet
one of two remaining airworthy Stearmans in Israel, on display on Independence Day 1992.
The first Israeli Stearmans were ex-U.S. Army aircraft purchased at a time when the type flooded the market following the end of WWII. Following the War of Independence the Stearman became the IAF's primary trainer, a few dozen serving into the mid 1950s.
Specification: Boeing Stearman PT-17 Kaydet
Type: two seat primary trainer.
Powerplant: one Continental R-670-5 engine.
Performance: max speed - 135mph, ceiling - 3400m, range - 500 miles.
Weights: max takeoff - 1195kg.
Dimensions: span - 9.80m, length - 7.54m.
North American T-6 Harvard
Originating from the BT-9 which first flew in 1935, thousands of T-6 variants were built during World War II and saw extensive service around the world, the latest variant, the Texan, still in service today. The name Harvard was given to the type by the RAF which operated a large fleet of the aircraft from 1938 into the late 1950s.
The first Harvards for the IAF were purchased in the U.S. and Canada during the summer of 1948. 17 examples were shipped to Israel in crates and after their arrival on October 24th were taken to Ekron AFB (Tel-Nof AFB today) and assembled. The Harvards formed the 35th squadron but instead of serving as trainers as the planes were designed for and operated abroad, they served as dive bombers, a role the young and under-equipped IAF had a need for. The new squadron was manned mainly by foreign volunteers which came to aid Israel in its war of independence and which drew on their experience during WWII to fly the Harvard in this unusual role. Furthermore, the planes were not equipped with any bombing aids, the accuracy of the attacks dependant only on the pilot's skills and abilities. The first ten aircraft entered service during November 1948, with others later on. The War of Independence was already nearing its end by this stage and the Harvards were used for driving the Egyptian army out of the Negev desert in southern Israel. The Harvards took a large part in operation "Horev" (for more see January 7th, 1949 - Israel Vs Britain), almost 100 sorties flown against various ground targets. At least two were lost, one destroyed upon landing after a bomb failed to disconnect from its pylon, and another in an Egyptian raid on Ekron AFB.
With the end of the War of Independence the Harvards were converted back to their intended role as trainers at the IAF flight school. The 14 examples which had remained in service were joined by more bought abroad, reaching a total of 65 aircraft, 25 having been bought in France. Serving in Ekron and Ramat-David the aircraft still maintained their ground attack capabilities, a backup in case hostilities broke out. On April 5th 1951, a Harvard was used to coordinate between Israel's Northern Command and IAF Spitfires and Mustangs attacking the Syrian police station at El-Hama, an Israeli enclave run over by the Syrians.
Tensions in the Middle East flared up again in 1955 and these escalated a year later into the 1956 Suez Crisis. The Harvards which in 1955 equipped a single squadron, were assigned at first to attack the Egyptian AFB at El-Arish, but the presence of Arab jet fighters dictated they be given another, safer role. Shortly before the outbreak of the crisis, in October 1956, the IAF's flight school was closed and its aircraft put on alert. During the crisis the Harvards were tasked with patrolling the Sinai and attacking any Egyptian units they could find. Only on the third day of the fighting, October 31st, after air superioriy over the Sinai had been accomplished were the Harvards put into use. 16 Harvard sorties were staged on the first day but the aircraft failed to accomplish good results and enemy ground fire proved to be quite effective against these slow and aged aircraft. The squadron commander was shot down and almost all the aircraft were hit, forcing the IAF to send the Harvard only on missions where it was to meet little resistance. On November 1st, the squadron carried out 8 more sorties in and around the Gaza strip, one being hit and crash landing in Israel.
The Harvards returned to their training role after the end of the crisis, and served until 1961 when they were replaced by the Fouga Magister. Some Harvards were handed over to Israel Aircraft Industries which used them to escort test flights. 2 examples remain airworthy today, one which had originaly served in the IAF and purchased back in 1988 and one bought in Britain in 1976. Both can be found at the IAF museum at Hatzerim.
Specification: North American Harvard T-6
Type: two-seat advanced trainer/dive bomber.
Powerplant: one Pratt-&-Whitney R-1340-AN-1 Wasp engine.
Performance: max speed - 182 knots, crusing speed - 126 knots, operational range - 1014km, service ceiling - 24,000ft.
Weights: empty - 1814kg, max takeoff - 2381kg.
Dimensions: span - 12.80m, length - 8.99m, height - 3.56m.
Armament: 2 * 0.5cm machine guns with 8 * 50kg bombs under the wings, or a single 0.303 machine gun with 16 * 80mm rockets and 4 * 50kg bombs under the wings.
Temco Buckaroo TE-1AThe Temco Buckaroo was designed in the late 1940s as an extremely low-cost trainer for commercial and export markets. Temco's failure to secure a USAF order for the Backaroo forced it to turn to foreign governments to keep the production lines going, yet only a few export orders materialized. Production of the type did not top 20 examples, at least 10 of which went to Saudi Arabia.
Specification: Temco Buckaroo TE-1B
Type: two seat training monoplane.
Powerplant: one Continental C145-2H.
Performance: max speed - 255 km/h, range - 750km.
Weights: empty - 590kg, max takeoff - 835kg.
Dimensions: span - 8.89m, legth - 6.60m, height - 1.87m.
Fokker S.11 Instructor
The Fokker S.11 Instructor, a light wing monoplane with either two or three seats, first went into production in 1947. The type has seen service with the air arms of the Netherlands, Italy and Brazil.
In 1949 the Instructor was one of three aircraft evaluated by the IAF to replace the Boeing Stearman as the IAF's primary training aircraft. The type was selected, apparently for its side-by-side seating and its relatively low price, and the first of 41 examples entered service with the IAF's flight school in 1951. The local weather, weak engine and fragile landing gear however, made the S.11 unsuitable for the training role and it was withdrawn from the flight school by the end of 1953. The aircraft were transferred to a light squadron, where they were employed for night and equipment flying. Unsatisfactory in these roles as well, the type was soon retired. The ten surviving Instructors were sold off in 1957, some to an Israeli flying club. One example still remains in airworthy condition in the IAF Museum.
Specification: Fokker S.11 Instructor
Type: two seat training monoplane.
Powerplant: one Lycoming O-435.
Performance: max speed - 215km/h, range - 695km, service ceiling - 4,000m.
Weights: empty - 810kg, max takeoff - 1100kg.
Dimensions: span - 11.00m, length - 8.15m, height - 2.40m.
de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk
The first aircraft designed at de Havilland's Canadian subsidiary, the DHC-1 first flew in May 1946 as a successor to the D.H.82 Tiger Moth. Large scale production took place in Canada and Britain up to 1956 and many were exported abroad. Among the type's many operators was also the Egyptian Air
Force which employed the type as a primary trainer during the 1950s. The Chipmunk has a fixed tailwheel landing gear and tandem accommodation for the two crew, and is of an all metal stressed-skin construction.
The Chipmunk was one of three single engined trainers evaluated for the IAF's flight school during the early 1950s. The IAF purchased one example which arrived in Israel during May 1950 and although the type proved to be an excellent training platform, it also suffered from the local weather. The IAF finally rejected the Chipmunk for its relativly high price, the Fokker Instructor selected instead. The sole DHC-1, registered 3001, was still in IAF service during November 1951.
Specification: de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk
Type: two seat training monoplane.
Powerplant: one de Havilland Gipsy Major 8.
Performance: max speed - 145mph, range - 300 miles.
Weights: empty - 650kg, max takeoff - 907kg.
Dimensions: span - 10.45m, length - 7.75m, height - 2.13m.
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