Aircraft History

North American Harvard

North American HarvardThe Harvards delivered to the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) were originally flown by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) during WW II as a pilot training aircraft in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. The first Harvards from RCAF post-war surpluses began to arrive at the Royal Canadian Naval Air Section Dartmouth in January 1947 and were a mixture of North American built Mark II's and Canadian built (Canadian Car and Foundry and Noorduyn) Mark IIB's. Throughout the remainder of 1947, Fleet Requirements Unit 743 (FRU 743) and the Operational Flying Training School (OFTS) received their complement of Harvards and became units of the newly formed Number 1 Training Air Group (1TAG). The OFTS was responsible for bringing aircrew up to operational standards following ab initio training with the RCAF while FRU 743 provided administrative and supply support as well as conducting utility and general duties flying.

To increase its cadre of pilots the RCN began equipping five Naval Reserve Air Group squadrons with Harvards in May 1953: VC 920 at HMCS York in Toronto, VC 921 at HMCS Cataraqui in Kingston, VC 922 at HMCS Malahat in Victoria, VC 923 at HMCS Montcalm in Quebec City and VC 924 at HMCS Tecumseh in Calgary. Normal training time for the reserves to qualify as pilots averaged about 18 months, about three times longer than the regulars, however, the material taught and standards attained were identical. Commencing in 1957, the reserve squadrons were brought together at HMCS Shearwater each summer for advanced operational training.

The Harvards were struck off RCN strength in 1960; at the Harvard's peak strength, 16 were assigned to the regular Navy units while 20 were flown by the reserve squadrons.

Type: Two seat primary and advanced trainer

Wing Span:
12.81 m (40 ft 0.25 in)

8.99 m (29 ft 6 in)

3.58 m (11 ft 9 in)

Max. Speed:
330 kph (205 mph)

Service Ceiling:
6555 m (21,500 ft)

1207 km (750 mi)

Max. Weight:
2404 kg (5300 lb)

Empty Weight:
1886 kg (4158 lb)

Power Plant:
One 410 kW (550 hp) Pratt & Whitney R-1340-AN-1 radial piston engine