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North American NA-64

The North American NA-64 is a low-wing single piston engine monoplane advanced trainer aircraft that was built for the French Air Force and French Navy, served with the Royal Canadian Air Force, and with the Luftwaffe as a captured aircraft during World War II.

230 were built.

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.

In one respect however, it was a step backwards from its immediate predecessor, the BT-14, with which it is often confused, in that the earlier straight wings were used with the result that in RCAF service, when compared to the later and more powerful Harvard II it was flown alongside, it had different handling characteristics and lower performance.


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. 

In France, the NA-64, like the NA-57 before it, was known as the North, and was designated as NAA-64 P-2 but were sometimes attached to reconnaissance units.

A small number escaped the Germans to be used by the Vichy French Air Force.

Two examples in North Africa survived into the post-war years, having been operated alongside NA-57s, the last only being retired in 1949.


The remaining 119 undelivered aircraft were bought up by the British Purchasing Commission and transferred to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan between August and September 1940, and all were operational by November

The type was named the Yale Mk.I following 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.


The NAA-64s captured from the French were used by the German Luftwaffe for all types of flight training, from basic flying to advanced fighter tactics.

Dive bomber schools and target tug units and even combat squadrons all used the NAA-64, as they were designated by the Luftwaffe, from the tail markings of the French examples.

At least one was used by the Zirkus Rosarius to familiarize German aircrew with the handling of American aircraft before they evaluated captured aircraft.





28 ft 4 in (8.64 m)


40 ft 1.4 in (12.228 m)


8 ft 10.5 in (2.70 m)

Wing area

241.67 sq ft (22.42 m2)

Empty weight

3,324 lb (1,057 kg)

Gross weight

4,500 lb (2,040 kg)

Max take-off weight

4,291 lb (1,946 kg) normal weight per NAA

Fuel capacity

104 gallons/394L including 16.5 US gallon/2.45L reserve tank

Oil capacity

9.5 US gallon/36L


1 × Wright R-975-E3 Whirlwind radial engine,

420 hp (310 kW)


2-bladed Hamilton Standard 2D30 hub & 6101A-12 blades,

9 ft 0 in (2.74 m) diameter


Maximum speed

166 mph (267 km/h, 144 kn) sea level

Cruise speed

146 mph (235 km/h, 127 kn) 64% power

Never exceed speed

300 mph (483 km/h, 261 kn)


730 mi (1,175 km, 630 nmi) cruising speed

Combat range

475 mi (765 km, 413 nmi) maximum speed


5 hrs at cruising speed, 2 hours 48 minutes at maximum speed

Service ceiling

17,500 ft (5,350 m) full load

Rate of climb

1,120 ft/min (5.7 m/s)

Time to altitude

11.36 min to 10,000 ft (3320 m)

Wing loading

17.76 lb/sq ft (86.7 kg/m2)




Light bombs

(French and German examples only)




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