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Fairchild AT-21 'Gunner'

Description
  Manufacturer:Fairchild


Control Panel
  Base model:AT-21
  Designation:AT-21
  Nickname:Gunner
  Designation System:U.S. Air Force
  Designation Period:1924-1948
  Basic role:Advanced Trainer
 
 
 
 

Specifications
  Length: 37' 11.2 m
  Height:13' 1" 3.9 m
  Wingspan: 52' 8" 16.0 m
  Wingarea: 375.0 sq ft 34.8 sq m
  Empty Weight: 8,700 lb 3,945 kg
  Gross Weight: 12,500 lb 5,668 kg

Propulsion
  No. of Engines: 2
  Powerplant: Ranger V-770-11
  Horsepower (each): 520

Performance
  Range: 870 miles 1,400 km
  Cruise Speed: 195 mph 314 km/h 169 kt
  Ceiling: 22,400 ft 6,827 m

Known serial numbers
41-76615 / 41-76645, 42-11679, 42-11680 / 42-11753, 42-48052 / 42-48090, 42-48412 / 42-48441, 42-76615 / 42-76645


 

Recent comments by our visitors
 Shelly
 Blackduck, MN
I love your page it's very helpful
10/09/2011 @ 12:40 [ref: 49489]
 Shelly
 Blackduck, MN
I love your web site it's very interesting
10/09/2011 @ 12:39 [ref: 49488]
 Shelly
 Blackduck, MN
I love your web site it's very interesting
10/09/2011 @ 12:35 [ref: 49487]
 Buddy Ashley
 Burlington, NC
During WW2, my mother worked at the Fairchild Plant here in Burlington, wiring the dashboard of the AT-21 Gunner Trainer. I have an old B&W photo she gave me, I'll try to scan it and upload it.
03/12/2010 @ 18:57 [ref: 25877]
 Don Bolden
 Burlington, NC
I live in Burlington NC, home of the Fairchild plant where the AT-21 was built. I was on hand as a young guy when the first one flew at a huge celebration at the old airfield next to the plant. I lived just a few blocks from the plant and field. I was in the newspaper business for 51 years and have written endless words about the plant and plane. I have a file of photos of the plane and plant. I just did a book on local history, and there is a good story about the plane included.
10/02/2006 @ 09:30 [ref: 14351]
 Jeff Ewing
 , AL
In her 1991 book "Stateside Soldier", Aileen Kilgore Henderson talks quite a bit about the AT-21 in her letters home to Alabama. She was one of six WAC aircraft mechanics at Ellington AFB, Texas in 1944, took her first airplane ride in their lone AT-21, and after that basically adopted the plane. "At first sight of the ship I was love-struck. It was like no other plane in the hanger....with wings like a gull's and a tail so high you have to use a ladder to climb inside....at break I spent the whole 15 minutes admiring her.....Today I worked on MY baby, the AT-21. What a beauty! It's an experimental ship being tested on this field. Few of the men like her but a small number of us will defend her to the last....For the last week we've been working on my AT-21. She is seriously cracked after that long trip to Philadelpia-vibration did it. We're removing her turret gun for an experiment. Her crew weight is now 1000 lbs, but with the turret gun gone she can take about 400 lbs more. Madeline and I tend her lovingly.
08/10/2006 @ 09:11 [ref: 13847]
 Jeff Ewing
 , AL
In her 1991 book "Stateside Soldier", Aileen Kilgore Henderson talks quite a bit about the AT-21 in her letters home to Alabama. She was one of six WAC aircraft mechanics at Ellington AFB, Texas in 1944, took her first airplane ride in their lone AT-21, and after that basically adopted the plane. "At first sight of the ship I was love-struck. It was like no other plane in the hanger....with wings like a gull's and a tail so high you have to use a ladder to climb inside....at break I spent the whole 15 minutes admiring her.....Today I worked on MY baby, the AT-21. What a beauty! It's an experimental ship being tested on this field. Few of the men like her but a small number of us will defend her to the last....For the last week we've been working on my AT-21. She is seriously cracked after that long trip to Philadelpia-vibration did it. We're removing her turret gun for an experiment. Her crew weight is now 1000 lbs, but with the turret gun gone she can take about 400 lbs more. Madeline and I tend her lovingly.
08/10/2006 @ 09:11 [ref: 13846]
 Rick Matthews
 Woodstock, GA, GA
Just happened onto this site...Regarding the North Texas AT-21, I had "discovered" the wreckage in 1979 at Saginaw Airport, just north of Fort Worth. It had been used for scrap parts by the old gentleman that owned the airport. As Director of Aircraft Acquisitions at the time for the Southwest Aerospace Museum at Carswell (remember the Last B-36?) I managed to negotiate a donation for the old man to the museum. In 1980 I organized a recovery party of nine museum staffers and volunteers, a crane, trucks, etc., to retrieve the remains. We relocated it to the museum site in front of the General Dynamics plant, and there it sat for several years. I lost touch as I took a job in 1982 in Orlando. I had always wondered what happened to the plane. I know it was a Bellanca version, because I did a lot of research. I was also determined that this should always be preserved, at least in static display condition someday, as it was the only one in world that we could determine. Would be glad to correspond with anyone familiar with this item.
07/08/2006 @ 01:27 [ref: 13676]
 Lowell Thompson
 Kellogg, ID

One basket case AT-21 survives. I think it is 42-48053, second one in a batch of 39 built by Bellanca. Craig Cantwell in North Texas owns it with long term hopes to restore it. He has a contact that may know where a wreckage of another is in the deep woods I think of Maine.

William T. Larkins has posted photos on the web of a black civil AT-21, N63432. I think he said it was 42-11715. There was another in the background of one of his photos that he felt was 42-48432. These were at Vail Field near Los Angeles in May 1946.

My dad ferried two AT-21s for a civilian buyer in 1946 or 1947 and I have a couple of photos of one somewhere misplaced in a move we made last month). No registration visible. I know he flew two unidentified "Fairchild" aircraft in 1947 from studying his logbooks. One was registered 48800 and was flown at Las Vegas on 10 February 1947. The other was registered 63120 and flown at Van Nuys, CA on 17 November 1947. Now, either or both of these could be Model 24s or PT-19/23/26's, I don't know. He flew some of each of those also. Most of the old N4880_ series were Aeronca O-58/L-3s. I also found in some digging that some of the original N6312_ series registrations were BT-13s.

Somewhere I have a photocopy of page 160 of the JOURNAL American Aviation Historical Society, Summer 1988 where Bill Larkins sent a letter of some history of civil AT-21s and four photos. If I recall correctly one of those was Mexican registration XA-FUI.

A Clyde Sturgell, Jr., of Tuscola, Illinois had two AT-21s N64468 42-48440, and N64469 that he registered with serial "19." I have no other info on those.

Lowell
01/14/2006 @ 16:19 [ref: 12156]
 Roy Kaden
 Maumelle, AR
I flew this aircraft in 1944 as an instructor at an advanced pilot flying school. The AT-21 was a molded plywood aircraft initially designed to be a gunnery trainer. As a gunnery trainer and later tried out as a bombadier trainer the aircraft proved to be unsuitable for these purposes because of inherent instability caused by the short distance between the rudders and the gull wing. Any slight movement of the rudder resulted in unacceptable yaw. Not deemed suitable for its original purpose it was sent to advanced pilot schools with the intent that it could be used as an advanced pilot trainer. This did not work out well. In addition to the yaw and oscillation of the aircraft inflight, poor single engine performance and multiple gear problems the aircraft was taken from service. I flew our last one that we had to the Depot.
07/20/2005 @ 15:28 [ref: 10795]

 

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