Canadian Warplanes 4: North American Yale

North American Yale

(Peter Bakema Photo)

North American NA-64 Yale Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 3416), coded X9, used in the movie Captains of the Clouds.  Guelph Airpark, Ontario.

The Yale is a low-wing single piston engine monoplane advanced trainer that served with the RCAF during the Second World War.  Ordered as a follow-on to the NA-57 as a two-seat advanced trainer, the NA-64 P-2/NAA-64 P-2 represented a major structural improvement, with a longer all-metal fuselage replacing the fabric covered fuselage of the NA-57.  As well as metal skin replacing the fabric on the fuselage, the fin was changed from having a corrugated skin to being a smooth stressed skin structure and was moved slightly aft, lengthening the rear fuselage while the engine was moved forward to maintain the centre of gravity.  The rudder was also changed from the rounded shape used previously to one with a roughly triangular shape with the broadest part being at the bottom to improve handling at high angles of attack.  Straight wings were used with the result that in RCAF service, when compared to the later and more powerful Harvard Mk. II that it was flown alongside, it had different handling characteristics and lower performance.  (Wikipedia)

The NA-64 P-2 was built for the French Armée de l'Air and Aéronavale in 1939–1940, which ordered 200 and 30 respectively. Of these, 111 had been delivered before France surrendered to the Germans after the Battle of France.  The remaining 119 undelivered aircraft were bought up by the British Purchasing Commission and transferred to the RCAF for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) between August and September 1940, and all were operational by November.  The type was named the Yale Mk. I, following the British naming practice of naming trainers after education institutions and US-supplied aircraft after American locations, in this case, Yale University, and were used initially as intermediate pilot trainers taking pilots from the de Havilland Tiger Moth and Fleet Finch to the much faster and more complex North American Harvard, until this category was dispensed with as being unnecessary.  They were then relegated for use as airborne wireless radio trainers, along with the contemporary Fleet Fort intermediate trainer in 1943.  Prior to service entry, the throttle and engine mixture controls were modified from the system used by the French whereby the throttle was pulled back to increase power, and the mixture control pulled back to lean out the mixture, to the system used on the Harvard.  The Yale appeared in the movie Captains of the Clouds.  The RCAF sold all surviving examples off as scrap in 1946 but over 30 survive today as a result of a large number of them being bought surplus by a single farmer, with about 15 currently in airworthy condition.

North American NA-26 Yale (1), (Serial No. 3345), NA-44 (1), (Serial No. 3344), NA-64/BT-14 Yale (119), (Serial Nos. 3346-3464).

(RCAF Photo)

North American Yale Mk. I s/n 3353  from No. 2 Wireless School at Calgary.  This particular aircraft was nicknamed 'Gremlin Joe'. (Chris Charland)

(Alan Wilson Photo)

North American NA-64 Yale I, RCAF (Serial No. 3349), c/n 64-2171, built in 1940.  This Yale is privately owned and is shown here in its regular home of Hangar 2 (North) at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, Cambridgeshire, UK.

(RuthAS Photo)

North American NA-64 Yale Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 3406).

 (USAF Photo)

North American NA-64 Yale, shortly after being taken on strength as an intermediate trainer, at Camp Borden, Ontario.

(Sam Stead Photo)

North American NA-64 Yale (Serial No. 3390).

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3582314)

North American Yale radio equipment.  

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3643695)

Cockpit of North American Yale.

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