In 1940-1941, North American Aviation designed the SNJ as a transition trainer between basic trainers and first-line tactical aircraft. These planes served as the classroom for most of the Allied pilots flying in WWII. This aircraft has been recognized by many names; the T-6 Texan (Army Aircorp) and the Harvard (RAF), but was most affectionately known as the “pilot maker” by crew members.
While made famous as a trainer, the SNJ won honors in WWII and in the early portion of the Korean War. A total of 15,495 planes were manufactured training thousands of pilots across 34 different countries.
The GEICO Skytypers fly the SNJ-2 version of the aircraft. This model has an enlarged 180 gallon fuel tank allowing the aircraft to operate for more than four hours. Other unique design elements of this particular aircraft include: a decrease of eight inches in the overall length, a larger round rudder, and a fixed tail wheel. Each plane weighs 5500 pounds and utilizes a 600hp Pratt and Whitney R-1340-AN-1, 9 cylinder radial engine.