T-6 Texan / Harvard
The North American T-6 Texan was an excellent design that served as a basic transitional combat trainer in all branches of U.S. service, as well as in other countries worldwide. U.S. Navy pilots utilized the type under the SNJ designation. The most common versions being the SNJ-4, SNJ-5 and SNJ-6.
The RAF was very taken with the design and adopted it as the Harvard. Later versions were manufactured in Canada and the type saw service in countries worldwide. An excellent all-round trainer, the type was quite good at teaching new pilots to avoid the accelerated stall, as a wing would snap around quite unexpectedly if the pilot was unwary. Approximately 17,000 of the type were built and some 350 are still airworthy.
Installation and Documentation
The T-6 Texan/Harvard is designed to run in FS2004 and FSX with all service packs and is an easy purchase via the Alphasim website for a mere £16.94 or 21.32 Euros or $32.67, and represents a real value for money. It downloads easily and quickly, and occupies about 50MB’s of hard drive space.
Once loaded, a choice of six aircraft are available, ranging from the North American T-6 Texan & Navy version (SNJ-5), of which there are a total of three choices in superb liveries, and three NA T-6 Harvard’s, again all painted and beautifully finished. With so much detail, it would take half an hour to go around the outside of the aircraft to read all the placards and legends.
Documentation comes in the form of a very comprehensive check list, which is selected via an icon on the instrument panel, and includes lots of performance information and handling detail too.
The North American T-6 (SNJ-5) Texan & Harvard
This aircraft is a superb simulation of the real thing, and from the time you climb into the cockpit and start checking the switches, levers and instruments, to completing a walk around that has so much attention to detail and information all over the fuselage and wings in the form of placards and legends, that you feel like writing some of it down in order to remember it all.
Before starting the fantastic sounding Pratt and Whitney R-1340-AN-1 Wasp Radial engine, you quickly get the feel of old leather and gasoline vapor while sitting in a plethora of Perspex all around you. It's not claustrophobic because the sliding canopy gives you so much fresh air and freedom, and the person in the backseat gets the same sliding canopy option too.
This is a fairly big airplane for a trainer, with a large frontal area as a result of the Radial engine and two bladed propeller. But how realistic can it get? From the time you start the engine and see the instruments come to life, to taxiing out with side to side movements on the rudder pedals to ensure your way ahead is clear with a good braking effect as well. Pull the stick right back to hold the tail down, and when lined up with clearance, a steady increase in throttle will cause the wasp engine to howl. Add a bit of rudder to compensate for torque effect, and before you know where you are, the tail is up and the rudder effect kicks in. A slight pull back on the stick and away we climb.
Gear up is a smooth transition from down and locked to up and stowed. Checking from the outside reveals a staggered movement of the gear legs, first one side and then the other, exactly as it should be, and then a quick check all around the panel and cleaning up before settling into a steady climb.
With a service ceiling of 24,200 feet AMSL, it will take some time to climb at a rate of 1200 feet per minute (you do the math) and once at cruise height you will be able to settle down at 145 mph for about a 730 miles range. So visiting your fellow aviators at their home field for a coffee and barbeque is one of many options, as is setting up an air display at your favorite airfield or airbase.
The Texan/Harvard is very maneuverable, quick to respond to control inputs, and a real pleasure to fly. But if abused it will bite you, as some airmen have found to their cost. It can be vicious in a stall, and a clean stall will occur at about 72 mph IAS, with a dirty stall occurring at about 64 mph IAS. With a quick flick over on one wing, if not watched, it will spiral down quite quickly too, so any hint of a stall and given enough air underneath you, a quick push forward on the stick will start the recovery. Stalling should be practiced at altitude first.
A lot of flap has been built into the aircraft, and approach and landings are great fun to do, and being a “tail dragger” means that great landings can be achieved with practice.
You will have gathered from my testing of this aircraft that I like it a lot, and that is true. It is very nicely modeled, beautifully finished, and the realism comes in great bucket loads, so what’s not to like?
If you want fun, from take off to landing, with the thought that you are in the real thing, then the T-6 Texan/Harvard is your airplane. Go cloud chasing and you will understand what I mean. Fly it in the rain and you can actually see the rain streaming back along the canopy in the slipstream. Try flying from the rear cockpit, you will not be disappointed.
The Instrument Panels look good, although they may not be totally accurate. But as long as all the instruments can be read and work the way they should, who’s going to be picky?
The 2D panel is very readable, and the Virtual Cockpit is also laid out well, with most switches and levers being mouse-movable.
The night-lighting for the panels is very well rendered, and gives a really good feel to night flying, clear without being glaring, and does not affect “night vision”.
The Pratt and Whitney R-1340-AN-1 Wasp Radial engine looks good, sounds good and performs exactly as you would expect on the simulated aircraft. The sound set provided is spot on, in my opinion, and exactly what is expected on a Texan/Harvard of this quality.
Even during startup, when the engine clears the oil from the cylinders as the crankshaft rotates, inevitable in a radial, the smoke emitting from the exhaust and a fat orange flame add to the realism, and as the engine picks up to idle, the prop wash sends the cloud of smoke back over the tail area just as you would expect. Now that is quality performance.
Summary / Closing Remarks
I really cannot say much more than has already been said. This product is a great example of the Texan/Harvard.
The detail is there, the paint schemes are there, the sounds are there, and the instruments are functional and fully readable. It performs just like the manual says, and even has the sting in the tail that it was famous for. I like it a lot, and it has everything going for it.
If you want it, don’t hesitate. Go get it. You will not be disappointed.
What I Like About The T6 Texan/Harvard
What I Don't Like About The T6 Texan/Harvard
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