RON DUPAS COLLECTION
No. 361. Bacon Super T-6 (N66J c/n 121-42750)
Photographed at San Fernando, California, USA, ca. December 1971, by Ron Dupas

Bacon Super T-6

01/31/2011. Primarily developed for sale to foreign air forces, the Super T-6, built by the Erle L. Bacon Corporation at the Municipal Airport of Santa Monica, California, was probably the most-modified version of the NA-16 family. The Super T-6 was a conversion of the North American T-6 tandem two-seat advanced training aircraft, many thousands of which were in operation throughout the world at that time.

Its principal features included an entirely new tricycle landing gear, a modernized power package with jet stacks and augmented cooling, and a one-piece streamlined cockpit canopy. The cockpit and instrument panel was modernized, and the airframe was cleaned up generally to reduce weight and drag, including a 4 ft (1.22 m) reduction in wing span. New lightweight Goodyear wheels with spot-type single-disc brakes and Bendix shock-absorbers were fitted.

Although the original centre-section fuel tanks were to be deleted to make room for the re-located main landing gear when retracted, the total fuel capacity was increased slightly by substituting two 50 gal (189 l) wing-tip tanks. Because of this, and the generally-cleaner design, cruising range was increased by approximately 20%. Cruising speed was increased by 45 mph (72 kmh). Optional equipment included 0.30 in (7.62 mm) machinegun mountings, bomb racks and rocket launchers.

The pictured aircraft originated as an AT-6F that was produced in 1944 for the USAAF (s/n 44-82028) by North American (NA-121). It was used as a brass shuttle between Keflavik and Reykjavik airports in Iceland, in April 1947 it was registered to the Iceland CAA as TF-FSA. It was exported to the USA in 1953, and registered as N66J, it was converted to the prototype Super T-6, which began taxi tests at Santa Monica on December 31, 1956, and flew for the first time in April 1957.

Reportedly no further examples were produced and N66J remained with the Bacon company till 1971, when it was sold to William J. Reedy of South Pasadena, California, and was subsequently painted to have the appearance of a Russian fighter. In 1981 the aircraft was withdrawn from use and has since been stored at Whiteman Airport, Pacoima, (where it was also pictured in 1973), although in 1984 ownership was transferred to William Leasure of Northridge, California.