North American SNJ-6 Texan Restored After Hitting Power Lines is Acquired By Lyon Air Museum

Stunning airworthy SNJ-6 at its new home at the Lyon Air Museum in Santa Ana, California (Image Credit: Lyon Air Museum)
Stunning airworthy SNJ-6 at its new home at the Lyon Air Museum in Santa Ana, California
(Image Credit: Lyon Air Museum)
Lyon Air Museum of Santa Ana, California has announced that they have acquired an airworthy North American AT-6F/SNJ-6 Texan to be added to their growing collection of airworthy warbirds. Founded by Major General William Lyon, the Lyon Air Museum is co-located with Martin Aviation, an Air/Lyon Inc. company and award-winning general aviation repair facility established by the famed Eddie Martin in 1923.

SNJ-6 N45CK in flight over Hollywood, California. (Image Credit: Platinum Fighter Sales)
SNJ-6 N45CK in flight over Hollywood, California.
(Image Credit: Platinum Fighter Sales)
SNJ-6's wing, re-sparred, re-skinned and undoubtably better than new. (Image Credit: Platinum Fighter Sales)
SNJ-6’s wing, re-sparred, re-skinned and undoubtably better than new.
(Image Credit: Platinum Fighter Sales)
The museum’s latest addition, North American SNJ-6 N45CK, left the production line in 1960 and had been previously restored, when in June of 2006, it struck power lines near American Falls, Idaho. According to the NTSB Accident Report, the plane, which was enroute to Jerome, Idaho from Afton, Wyoming, when the pilot found it too cold at his cruising altitude of 8500′ MSL, so he descended to warmer altitudes, following the path of Snake River, cruising “about 100 feet” above its surface. According to the report, while following along the river, he noticed three wooden poles and a crossbeam located along the edge of the river, and though he claims he did not see wires, he “made the immediate assumption that there were wires.” He pulled up and heard a loud bang as the airplane struck the transmission lines. He also saw a blue flash. After determining that the airplane was “able to continue safe flight,” he made the decision to proceed to his planned destination, where he was able to make a normal landing.

Upon landing, inspection of the plane revealed a damaged engine cowl and both wings had been pretty badly torn up. The plane was taken in for complete restoration and overhaul with Airpower Unlimited, in Jerome and new wings were built with new spars and skins. The plane was recently offered for sale by Platinum Fighter Sales, with an asking price of $325,000.00, and looking at the photos there, it’s clear that this plane has been restored to triple-diamond condition.

Here’s some amazing footage of the Museum’s new SNJ-6, shot as a promotional video for Dolby Laboratories as a demo reel for their professional line of high performance reference monitors, and it’s truly a sight to behold!

The aerials were shot from an Aérospatiale A-Star helicopter, over the Santa Monica Mountains, the Pacific Ocean, and Catalina Island, all near Los Angeles. The runway shown is at Catalina Airport, a private strip built on the top of a mountain, 1,600 feet above sea level. The ground photography was done at Santa Paula Airport, a small airfield about 45 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

 Douglas A-26B Invader, “Feeding Frenzy” (Image Credit: Lyon Air Museum)
Douglas A-26B Invader, “Feeding Frenzy”
(Image Credit: Lyon Air Museum)
The SNJ-6 will be joining an already impressive collection of airworthy warbirds at the Lyon Air Museum, including the Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress, “Fuddy Duddy,” a North American B-25J MitchellGuardian of Freedom,” the Douglas A-26B Invader, “Feeding Frenzy,” a Douglas C-47 Skytrain, “Willa Dean,” and a Douglas DC-3 that started life as a C-47 and served as a troop transport on D-Day at Normandy, “Flagship Orange County,” as well as a Cessna O-1EBird Dog.” The museum also houses a collection of WWII-era military vehicles, Military motorcycles and civilian automobiles.

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3 Comments

  1. You may want to check your sources for data on the birthdate of the SNJ-6 featured. No AT-6F’s and SNJ-6’s were built in the early 60’s as you state. The AT-6/SNJ was entirely built during WWII except for the T-6G that was a rebuild of the earlier T-6C & D’s and a couple of other stragglers. The USAAC gave the USN what T-6F’s that were on the poduction line at one point. It confused everyone in that the birds were flying USN aircraft, but in USAAF colors & markings. (I bet that really pissed off the Navy!)

    The SNJ6/T-6F was the last actual series aircraft built during WWII. There was a weak attempt of the Navy to bring earlier fleet SNJ-5X & -6X’s (some called them 7X’s) up to what in effect were T-6G standards, but the Navy was tiring of taildraggers with the new T-28 & the newly entering jets on the flightline. Too bad too, the early T-28’s were frought with teething problems, and didn’t serve well in early carrier trials with the weak gear installation. Tail hooks were commonly ripped out & pulled the tail with it. They didn’t have that problem with the old faithful -SNJ-XC versions with the tailhook!

    The SNJ-5X & SNJ-6X series aircraft were not common on most bases due to their limited numbers. Instructor Pilots I’ve corresponded with stated mainly they were at Pensacola. The plan was for 50 kits (assembled at NAA in Ohio) to be assembled at the O&R shops in Pensacola, but only 6 came out. I worked on some of the last Navy SNJ’s on their way the the USN’s boneyard in Litchfield Park (Phoenix) in 1958. By the end of 1958 all production had lond been stopped and the aircraft were all out of service and in the boneyards at Litchfield & Davis-Monthan.

    Bill

    Sources: Hagedorn, “North American AT-6,” & Other “AT-5/SNJ/AT-16”
    My Book: Todd, “T-6, a Systems View”

    My experience: Restored 9 T-6/SNJ’s including two racers, A&P 50 years, AI-6 years. Developed STC-SA-1001 for a 50 A Jasco Alternator on T-6 Series aircraft

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