|Role||Advanced twin-engined trainer|
|Primary users||United States Army Air Forces|
United States Air Force
|Number built||792 (including prototype and AT-9A variant)|
The Curtiss-Wright AT-9 Jeep was an American twin-engined advanced trainer aircraft used by the United States during World War II to bridge the gap between single-engined trainers and twin-engined combat aircraft. The AT-9 had a low-wing cantilever monoplane configuration, retractable landing gear and was powered by two Lycoming R-680-9 radial engines.
Curtiss-Wright anticipated the requirement for this type of "high-performance" aircraft and designed the Curtiss-Wright CW-25, a twin-engined trainer, which possessed the takeoff and landing characteristics of a light bomber. Using the same basic design as the larger Cessna AT-17 Bobcat, the new CW-25 was designed to simulate the demands of multi-engined operations. The design featured a small layout, grouping two Lycoming R-680-9 radial engines forward and using a retractable tailwheel landing gear to achieve the performance necessary to meet the requirements of an advanced trainer. The single CW-25 prototype acquired for evaluation had a welded steel-tube fuselage structure with the wings, fuselage and tail unit fabric-covered.
The first prototype Model 25 flew in 1941 and the production version entered service as the AT-9 in 1942. Named the "Fledgling" by Curtiss-Wright, it commonly became known as the "Jeep" in the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF). The prototype CW-25 had a fabric-covered steel tube fuselage and fabric-covered wings and tail units, but production AT-9s were of stressed metal skin construction.
The AT-9 was purposely designed to be less stable and proved to be difficult to fly or land, which made it particularly suitable for teaching new pilots to cope with the demanding flight characteristics of a new generation of high-performance, multi-engined aircraft such as the Martin B-26 Marauder and Lockheed P-38 Lightning.
A total of 491 AT-9s were built before production ended and a new production run of 300 of the generally similar AT-9A commenced.
Because of its difficult flying characteristics the AT-9 was not offered for sale to civilians after the war, although many non-flying examples were given to ground schools for training purposes.
- Prototype with fabric covered fuselage and tail surfaces
- Production aircraft with stressed-skin covering and two Lycoming R-680-9 radial engines, 491 built.
- AT-9 with Lycoming R-680-11 radial engines and revised hydraulic system, 300 built before production ended in February 1943.
- 41-12150 – AT-9 on static display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. It required extensive restoration, and was the product of the museum staff incorporating two incomplete airframes together, along with parts fabricated on site.
- 42-56882 – AT-9 in storage at the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona. It was recovered from a crash site in 1993 and turned over to the museum for restoration. However, the aircraft is incomplete and will require a long and extensive restoration for display.
Data from Curtiss Aircraft 1907–1947
- Crew: 2
- Length: 31 ft 8 in (9.65 m)
- Wingspan: 40 ft 4 in (12.29 m)
- Height: 9 ft 10 in (3.00 m)
- Wing area: 233 sq ft (21.6 m2)
- Airfoil: root: NACA 23015.9 ; tip: NACA 4410
- Empty weight: 4,494 lb (2,038 kg)
- Gross weight: 6,060 lb (2,749 kg)
- Powerplant: 2 × Lycoming R-680-9 , 295 hp (220 kW) each
- Propellers: 2-bladed propellers
- Maximum speed: 197 mph (317 km/h, 171 kn)
- Cruise speed: 175 mph (282 km/h, 152 kn)
- Range: 750 mi (1,210 km, 650 nmi)
- Service ceiling: 19,000 ft (5,800 m)
- Time to altitude: 10,000 ft (3,000 m) in 8 minutes 36 seconds
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era
- Mondey 2006, p.70.
- Shanaberger, Kenneth W. "Curtiss-Wright AT-9 Fledgling/Jeep." Archived 2008-12-01 at the Wayback Machine KensAviation.com, 2008.
- "Curtiss AT-9 Jeep/Fledgling". National Museum of the US Air Force. 20 April 2015. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- "JEEP". Pima Air & Space Museum. Pimaair.org. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- Robinson, Nancy (3 October 1992). "Larry Tagg Taking Part in Air Show that Won't Draw a Crowd". Abilene Reporter-News. p. 2A. Retrieved 30 January 2023.
- "Pima Air Museum is Beneficiary of Trainer Retrieved from '42 Crash Site". Arizona Daily Star. AP. 9 May 1993. p. B-11. Retrieved 30 January 2023.
- Robinson, Nancy (10 July 1993). "Rare Plane's Recovery Leaves One Less Ghost in the Gila". Abilene Reporter-News. p. 4A. Retrieved 30 January 2023.
- Bowers 1979, p.471.
- Lednicer, David. "The Incomplete Guide to Airfoil Usage". m-selig.ae.illinois.edu. Retrieved 16 April 2019.