Beechcraft 26 / AT-10 Wichita
The expansion of US training facilities in 1941 created a need for trainer aircraft to conserve raw materials, notably aluminium and magnesium alloys, would have to be needed for first-line types. Beech's T.A. Wells engineering team evolved the Beech Model 26, which was the first all-wood trainer to be accepted by the US Army Air Force, designated AT-10 Wichita. The design avoided the use of compound curves and of hot moulding processes for the structure's sub-assemblies, allowing them to be sub-contracted to non-specialist wood-working firms: 85 per cent of the airframe was manufactured on this basis, with final assembly by Beech.
Metal airframe parts were limited to engine nacelles and cowlings, and panelling around the cockpit section. The wooden fuel tanks were lined with synthetic rubber. For operation as a multi-engined conversion trainer, the Wichita was equipped with dual controls and an autopilot, and entry to the cockpit was via rearward-sliding side windows. The AT-10 was powered by two 220kW Lycoming R-680-9 engines, and by 1943 Beech had completed four contracts, for 150, 191, 18,080 and 350 aircraft respectively, bringing the total built at Wichita to 1,771. The last of these was delivered on 15 September 1943. Beech then supplied engineering and production data to the Globe Aircraft Corporation of Dallas, Texas, so that a additional 600 could be manufactured.
Engines: 2 x Lycoming R-680-9 radial, 295 hp / 220kW
Take-off weight: 2781 kg / 6131 lb
Loaded weight: 2155 kg / 4751 lb
Wingspan: 13.41 m / 43 ft 12 in
Length: 10.46 m / 34 ft 4 in
Wing area: 27.68 sq.m / 297.94 sq ft
Max. speed: 319 km/h / 198 mph
Ceiling: 5150 m / 16900 ft
Range: 1239 km / 770 miles