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Flights in a Spitfire - make it happen!



Fly a Harvard Texan Harvard Texan flying lessons
Three Harvards taxying out to give a superb display at 'Woodchurch Warbirds 2004', an annual display near Ashford in Kent. Click the play button to view.

If you canít find a Spitfire to fly, why donít you try a Harvard?

We are now delighted to be able to offer flights in the classic Harvard aircraft! Take control of this dual control ex-military aircraft under the guidance of your instructor and, if you wish, sample the delights of Spitfire style aerobatics.




Why fly a Harvard?

The Harvard is the most powerful aircraft in our inventory - it's three times as powerful as an Extra and twice that of a Stearman. This aircraft is the one which every current spitfire pilot in the world has to master first and, realistically, the chances of you ever flying in a Spitfire are, unfortunately, dreadfully low.

You can't imagine the thundering noise as she starts up, and the clouds of smoke are something to behold!


North American AT6 Harvard

Originally built by North American Aviation, the 15,495 aircraft that were manufactured over the life of the model served primarily as advanced trainers, helping pilots convert from basic trainers such as the Tiger Moth or Stearman and front-line tactical aircraft such as the Spitfire, Hurricane and P-51 Mustang.

The sturdy, all metal aircraft featured a retractable undercarriage and the 550 HP Pratt & Whitney Wasp radial engine gave fighter-like performance. Its direct drive propeller with near supersonic tip speed gave the Harvard a distinctive rasping note. Designated AT-6 (Advance Trainer), production was additionally undertaken from 1940 in the North American factory in Dallas (these aircraft where often referred to as Texans).

AT-6 was designated the Harvard II for RAF orders and 1,173 were supplied by purchase or Lend Lease, mostly operating in Canada as part of the Empire Air Training Scheme.

Flying the Harvard in the UK

It is now possible to fly the mighty Harvard Texan at a choice of venues around the UK!

Harvard Flights with 5 minutes to 20 minutes in the air

Harvard flights UK

20 minutes flying at Shoreham, (Sussex); £72.00
30 minutes flying at Shoreham, (Sussex); £104.00
40 minutes flying at Shoreham, (Sussex); £129.00
60 minutes flying at Shoreham, (Sussex); £170.00

Premier Harvard Flights with 20 to 60 minutes in the air

Harvard flights UK

20 minutes flying at Duxford, (Cambridgeshire); £514.44
30 minutes flying at Duxford, (Cambridgeshire); £645.06

Harvards in Service

With the threat of war looming in Europe, the RAF were on the lookout for new aircraft to supplement production for what would be a hard pressed home aircraft industry. In June 1938 an order was placed for 200 Texans, which in RAF service were known as the Harvard. They began to arrive at Liverpool Docks for reassembly at RAF Shawbury in January 1939.

T-6G ( North American Harvard) specification

Engine:One 600 HP Pratt & Whitney Radial
Wing Span:42 ft. 0 in.
Length:29 ft. 6 in.
Maximum Take-Off Weight:5,617 lbs.
Maximum Level Speed:212 mph
Normal Range:870 miles

When production ceased more than 10,000 British pilots had been trained on Harvards, not to mention those from Canada, America, Rhodesia and South Africa, with many moving onto Spitfires, Mustangs and other types. Even the Japanese built a variant under license in 1940, albeit with a Japanese engine and in the 1960's were to receive AT-6's from the US Government to enable former Japanese Navy pilots to re-qualify. The Luftwaffe's new Flying Training School was opened in 1955 with 145 brand new Canadian built Harvard 4's under the US Military Defence Aid Program and manned by RAF instructors. At some time, nearly every Air Force in the world operated the type, with 14 Air Forces still using them as recently as 1985. Sadly, there is now only a handful being operated by military forces, particularly since the replacement of South Africa's fleet of over 100 Harvards in 1996.


Surviving Harvards

Harvard flights from Flights4all

With an estimated total of 350 Harvards flying world wide the majority of the aircraft are probably in the USA. There are 30 flying examples in Australia, 30 in South Africa, 50 in Canada, at least 16 New Zealand aircraft and about 30 in the UK.

The South African Air Force finally retired their Harvards in 1996 after 55 years of service making them the longest operator of the type.

Most of the collections operating high performance vintage fighter aircraft use the Harvard for conversion training and currency checks of their pilots. Indeed in the UK insurance companies insist on pilots gaining experience on the Harvard before flying the Spitfire. The Harvard has come full circle and can be found doing what it does best, training future spitfire pilots!


Fly the Harvard

Harvard flights are available from an ever growing range of locations. Vouchers are selling fast so get yours now!



Want to fly the Harvard from another location?

We are always seeking feedback for planning of future locations for trial lessons in the Harvard. Please let us know if you would like to have a Harvard flying experience near you.

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