03/31/2010. At the request of the USAAF, T. A. Wells and his engineers created in 1940-1941 an entirely new type of aircraft, the Model 26 AT-10 Wichita twin-engine advanced pilot trainer. In it at least 50% of the USAAFs multi-engine pilots received their transitional training. Designed at a time when aluminum was critically scarce, the AT-10 was constructed entirely of plywood, except for the cowlings and cockpit enclosure. It proved to have superior performance to that of similar airplanes and became the favorite trainer of its type and the USAAF wanted AT-10s by the hundreds.
Ease and speed of manufacture on a large scale was also a prime factor in its design, as 85% of all the AT-10 parts and assemblies were constructed by subcontractors, like the furniture manufacturer American Seating Company of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The first aircraft flew in 1941 and by spring 1943, Beech completed its contracts for 1,771 AT-10s. Beside that it had supplied engineering and production data, and extended other forms of assistance, to the Globe Aircraft Corporation, Fort Worth, Texas, which enabled Globe to fulfill successfully a contract for an additional 600 AT-10s.
Pictured is the sole AT-10 experimentally fitted with a V-tail in 1945, hence it was redesignated XAT-10A.