MANUFACTURER(S): Beechcraft / Beech Aircraft / Globe Aircraft - USA
OPERATORS: United States (retired)
LENGTH: 34.32 feet (10.46 meters)
WIDTH: 43.96 feet (13.4 meters)
HEIGHT: 10.33 feet (3.15 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 4,751 pounds (2,155 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 6,129 pounds (2,780 kilograms)
ENGINE: 2 x Lycoming R-680-9 air-cooled radial piston engines developing 295 horsepower each.
SPEED (MAX): 199 miles-per-hour (320 kilometers-per-hour; 173 knots)
RANGE: 771 miles (1,240 kilometers; 670 nautical miles)
CEILING: 16,896 feet (5,150 meters; 3.20 miles)
Detailing the development and operational history of the Beech AT-10 Wichita Twin-Engine Military Trainer Aircraft.
Entry last updated on 2/3/2017.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The Beech Aircraft AT-10 "Wichita" was conceived by the company as a dedicated, low-cost twin-engine military trainer to meet a standing requirement by the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) (to become the United States Army Air Forces - USAAF - in March of 1942). To facilitate mass production (and head-off a possible shortage of valuable aluminum during wartime), plywood was used throughout the construction of the airframe with metal only applied to the key sections such as the engine and cockpit area. The Wichita, beginning life as the company "Model 25", saw design from 1940 until 1941 and entered service in 1942. The AT-10 was named after the Kansan town of "Wichita" where the Beechcraft facility resided and 2,371 total examples followed with manufacturing handled by Beechcraft (1,771 units) and Globe Aircraft Corporation (600 units).
The original prototype was lost to an accident on May 5th, 1941 during testing by the USAAC and Beechcraft quickly turned around and constructed a second form as the "Model 26". Following the requisite evaluations, trials and certifications, the aircraft was adopted as the AT-10 and entered the USAAC inventory in February of 1942. Nearly 750 were on hand before the end of the year.
Dimensions of the Wichita included a length of 34.3 feet, a wingspan of 44 feet and a height of 10.3 feet. Empty was 4,750 lb with a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) nearing 6,130 lb. The Wichita was powered by a pair of Lycoming R-680-9 series air-cooled engines delivering 295 horsepower apiece. This propelled the aircraft to speeds of 198 miles per hour out to ranges of 770 miles and a service ceiling up to 16,900 feet.
The AT-10 proved crucial in the training of airmen intended for large aircraft as it stood as a stepping stone to operational-level bombers and transport types of equal or larger size. Production of the series was aided by its simplicity - the largely wooden approach allowed Beechcraft to outsource manufacture to wood-working / furniture plants to help meet demand. Even the all-important fuel stores were wooden with a synthetic rubber liner applied. The aircraft was in constant production until 1944 and the final examples emerged from Globe Aircraft lines (the company evolving to become Temco in the post-war period).
AT-10s operated until the end of the war which arrived in 1945.
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This entry's maximum listed speed (199mph).
Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
Graph showcases the Beech AT-10 Wichita's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units