Restoration Of North American NA-64 3456

Having found its way to rest near the cornfields of Iowa, NA-64 3456 has been waiting patiently for her time to take to the skies again. When restored she will be returned to her original dual-control configuration as delivered to the Royal Canadian Airforce.

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History of NA-64 3456

NA-64 64-2221 was built in the North American Aviation Plant located in Inglewood, CA as part of the first 200-plane order for the French contract, but instead was delivered to the Royal Canadian Air Force. It was taken on strength May 10, 1940 as aircraft number 3456 at the No.3 Service Flight Training School in Calgary, Alberta. In March 1941 the aircraft was transferred to the No.6 Service Flight Training School located in Dunnville, Ontario.

In February of 1942 while under the control of C.D. Wilson, NA-64 3456 had to make a forced landing in Dunnville, Ontario on rough ground. One of the main wheels struck a furrow, causing the aircraft to ground loop. This caused category C-1 damage to the airframe.

After serving as a dual-control trainer, 3456 was converted to a Wireless Trainer in April 1943 at the No.6 Repair Depot in Trenton, Ontario. It was then transferred to serve with the No.2 Wireless Training School in Calgary, Alberta in February 1944.

Between June 1944 and July 1945, 3456 was moved into storage and then transferred to four different storage commands, No.2 Training Command, No.1 Training Command, No.1 Air Command and No.4 Reserve Equipment Maintenance Unit.

3456 was struck off, to War Assets for sale in September 1946 with having only 1,752 hours total time on the airframe. Amsco Ltd. of Hamilton, Ontario, which originally purchased it for scrap, then put 3456 on the market again.

Purchased from Amsco Ltd. by the late Ernie Simmons, 3456 was then transported to Ernie’s farm in Cortland, Ontario were it was parked outside for decades. After Ernie passed in 1970 the 36 NA-64 Yales that he saved from being scrapped were auctioned off by Dan Murray Auctions in the “Ernie Simmons Collection." 3456 was sold to Tom Dietrich of Waterloo, Ontario.

With little being done with 3456 it was sold to the Westrums in Norwalk, Iowa, who once again offered the Yale back up for sale in early 2009. It was purchased by John Vasil of Ontario, Canada in early 2010 and moved to Legend Of Aces Aviation for restoration to airworthy status.

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 Americans' 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 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 Yales 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 Yales served as advanced trainers in the Canadian Air Training Plan’s two-phase flying training system. When sufficient numbers of the higher performance Harvards 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. In total, 119 Yales 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)