1941 Fairchild Cornell M62A
As the Second World War advanced, the RCAF needed a more advanced trainer for the BCATP. The existing DH 82C Tiger Moths and Fleet 16B's used for elementary flying training proved to be a significant step down from contemporary service aircraft.
In the spring of 1941, the RCAF therefore decided on a development of the Fairchild Aircraft (US) Company's PT-19 trainer design. The RCAF version was to feature an enclosed cockpit, an improved heating system, equipment changes along with a Ranger piston engine. This modified version was to be known as the Fairchild Cornell in Canada and it rapidly entered production and found favour at elementary flying schools beginning in 1943.
Although not without some in-service problems, the Cornell provided reliable service in its intended role until after the war.
The Tiger Boys have three Cornells, but their current restoration has a very important local history. The aircraft was paid for with monies raised by school children from the Kitchener area during the early days of WW2.
So when this particular Cornell is completed, it will bear a dedication to those children on its nose.
Fairchild PT-26B Cornell III - SPECIFICATIONS
Fairchild Aircraft Co., Hagerstown, Maryland, was awarded an Army Airforce contract in 1938 for a tandem cockpit primary trainer with a 175 h.p. Ranger six cylinder inline engine. This aircraft was named after Cornell University and designated a PT-19 and M-62-A3 by the manufacturer. To fulfill further military contracts the Cornell was modified to accept a seven cylinder radial Continental engine of 220 h.p. and was known as the PT-23. Under BCATP contracts in Canada, Fleet Aircraft (now Fleet Industries of Fort Erie, Ontario) produced 1,652 Cornells, both the model PT-23 and the PT-26, the latter of which had an enclosed cold weather canopy and a 200 h.p. Ranger engine.
The Fairchild Cornell was the successor to the Tiger Moth and Fleet Finch for elementary pilot training in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. The RCAF version, which served until 1947, was the Cornell III, manufactured by Fleet Aircraft, Fort Erie, Ontario. In late 1943 a series of wing failures occurred, requiring reinforcement of the main spar. After the war many Cornells were sold for civilian use, but the wing spar problem continued and required stringent annual inspections. This weakness greatly reduced their popularity.
Although Cornells were also manufactured in Canada for the US Army Air Force, none were delivered there. Most of the US Army Air Force order was sent to the RAF under lend-lease, with the balance going to the RCAF. Twenty Canadian-built Cornells were used by the Royal Norwegian Air Force at their two wartime bases in Ontario. Some Canadian-built Cornells were shipped to Africa and India to be used in training schools.
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Last updated on March 10, 2006
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