Restoration Of North American NA-64 3383

Upon the acquisition of NA-64 Yale 3383, it was quickly discovered to be completely untouched since leaving Royal Canadian Air force service. In honor of this fact, we will be taking the utmost care in restoring this Warbird to her original wireless trainer configuration. NA-64 3383 now resides at the Legend Of Aces shop awaiting restoration.

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Timeline History of NA-64 3383

(Picture curtsey of Doug MacPhail)

64-3037 was built in the North American Aviation Plant in Inglewood, CA as part of a 30-plane addition to the French Contract for the Royal Navy. With Germany invading France the Yale was delivered to the Royal Canadian Air Force. It was taken on strength with the RCAF as 3383 in September of 1940 with the No. 1 Service Flying Training School at Camp Borden, Ontario and the No. 31 Service Flying Training School in Kingston, Ontario. The Yale was transferred for a short period of time from March to April 1941 to the Royal Navy, the only one of eight still surviving today.

Between April and August 1941 while at the Conversion Training Squadron Picton, Ontario, 3383 suffered three ground loops causing category C damage to the airplane. The pilots at the time were J.W Wheeler, H.C. Cairns and W.N. Thompson.

(Picture curtsey of Doug MacPhail))

After serving at the Picton Aerodrome, 3383 moved on to the No. 14 Service Flight Training School at RCAF Station Aylmer, Ontario. Under the controls of J.B. Straile the R-975 engine failed during formation practice on August 6,1942 causing the aircraft to hit trees on a forced landing ½ miles north of Calton, Ontario causing category B damage.

The Yale was transported to Noorduyn Aviation for repairs from the category B accident in Calton, Ontario. The repairs on 3383 were finished on February 8, 1943 and moved into storage at the No. 3 Training Command. In February 1944 3383 was removed from storage and transported to the No. 9 Repair Depot at St. Jean, Quebec for conversion to Wireless Trainer.

Once converted to a Wireless Trainer 3383 was assigned to the No.4 Wireless Training School at St. Catharines, Ontario in April 1944. During a routine wireless training flight in August the fuel pressure gauge line broke spraying fuel inside the cockpit. The pilot, LAC Ball and wireless operator, WO2 G. Sample were ordered to bail out of 3383 but managed to land the aircraft in a small field causing no other damage to the plane.

Over the year of 1945, 3383 was transferred to the No.1 Air Command, then to the No.4 Reserve Equipment Maintenance Unit for storage at Brantford, Ontario. She was Struck off, to War Assets for sale in September 25, with 2333:20 total time on airframe.

Amsco Ltd. of Hamilton, Ontario purchased 3383 and re-offered 3383 for sale. The Yale was than purchased by the late Ernie Simmons and became part of his collection that was parked on his farm for decades in Cortland, Ontario. In 1970 after Ernie’s passing Dan Murray auctioned off the aircraft on his farm. On September 3, 1970 3383 was sold to Jack N. Taft for $706.20.

NA-64 3383 made it to its new home on May 23,2009 when it was purchased by Patrick J Mihalek of Legend Of Aces Aviation from the Jack N. Taft Trust. She will be restored to airworthy status and be on loan to the Warbirds Of Glory Museum.

History of the North American NA-64 Yale

With hostilities on the horizon, France went to North American for a version of the BT-9 called the NA-57. These proved very popular, so, just before the war, they ordered a further 230 updated machines. This incarnation was called the NA-64, later to be called the Yale 1. It was a hodge-podge machine, featuring the Harvard canopy, the fixed landing gear and the Wright R-975-E3 Whirlwind engine. It did, however, have the semi-monocoque rear fuselage rather than the earlier fabric structure as the BT-9.

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 originally 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 Yale's 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 Germany in 1940. One hundred and eleven of these had just been delivered when France fell. The Germans were happy to press them into service in the Luftwaffe, many still in their packing crates, as they too had a shortage of trainers. The Luftwaffe made use of these Yale's until lack of spare parts forced their grounding. The remainder of the order, with their French stenciling and plates and instruments calibrated in metric measurements, was shipped to Canada whose Air Force was moving quickly to build its training program under the Canadian Air Training Plan.

Initially the Yale's served as advanced trainers in the Canadian Air Training Plan’s two phase flying training system. When sufficient numbers of the higher performance Harvard's became available the Yale's 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. In total, 119 Yale's served with the RCAF, the last one being retired in 1946.

NA-64 "Yale" Specifications
Max Gross Wt....
Empty Wt............
42 ft 0 in
28 ft 0 in
13 ft 7 in
4,470 lb
3,3163 lb
Max Speed.........
Service Ceiling..
Rate Of Climb.....
1 × Wright R-975
450 hp
170 mph
877 miles
19,750 ft
2,381 ft/min

(Historical Information from Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 22 July 2004)