TA-6D Texan(24-85501)/SNJ-5(Bu No 85061)/(G-CHIA)

On the 30th September 2012 a shipping container completed its journey from Seattle, Washington, USA, when a bright orange SNJ-5 in US Navy markings was unloaded in the ARCo/HFL compound. Built in 1944 as an AT-6D Texan for the USAAF/44-85501, it was transferred to the US Navy as an SNJ-5 with the Bu No 85061. It was then one of 12 aircraft on loan to the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force when it formed in July 1954 as 6208. It was returned to the US Navy in 1977 where it was sold on to the civilian market.

In 1984, 6208 was allocated the civilian registration of N9012Y and was based in California until 1992. From 1994 to 2001 it moved to Oregon before settling in Seattle in 2001. N9012Y was registered in the UK as G-CHIA on the 20th June 2012. The partly completed aircraft was sighted outside at Duxford on the 12th November 2012 with engine runs taking place on the 30th October 2012. The next day, with all panels in place,       G-CHIA was having a compas swing and on the 2nd November 2012, John Romain flew the SNJ-5 on its first flight in the UK.

G-CHIA will be flown by Chiltern Classic Flight based at Bicester Airfield, Oxfordshire. It will be used, along with a pair of Chipmunks and Piper Cub, as a trainer for pilots to gain experience or conversion on tail wheel aircraft.