Airplanes Online Home Page Airplanes Online: The story of the great planes of WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam War and modern times with photographs and commentary

Beech AT-11 Kansan Trainer

Beech AT-11 in flight
Beech AT-11 in flight

The AT-11 was the standard U.S. Army Air Forces World War II bombing trainer; about 90 percent of the more than 45,000 USAAF bombardiers trained in AT-11s.

Like the C-45 transport and the AT-7 navigation trainer, the Kansan was a military version of the Beechcraft Model 18 commercial transport. Modifications included a transparent nose, a bomb bay, internal bomb racks and provisions for flexible guns for gunnery training.

Student bombardiers normally dropped 100-pound sand-filled practice bombs. In 1943 the USAAF established a minimum proficiency standard of 22 percent hits on target for trainees.

Typical combat training missions took continuous evasive action within a 10-mile radius of the target with straight and level final target approaches that lasted no longer than 60 seconds. After Sept. 30, 1943, the AT-11 usually carried a Norden Bombsight and a C-1 automatic pilot, which allowed the bombardier student to guide the aircraft during the bombing run.

When production ended, 1,582 AT-11 aircraft had been ordered by the USAAF between 1941 and 1945.


Specifications of the AT-11 Kansan

Armament: Two .30-cal. machine guns when used as a gunnery trainer
Engine: Two Pratt & Whitney R-985 of 450 hp each
Maximum speed: 215 mph
Cruising speed: 150 mph
Range: 745 miles
Service ceiling: 20,000 ft.
Span: 47 ft. 7 3/4 in.
Length: 34 ft. 1 7/8 in.
Height: 9 ft. 7 3/4 in.
Weight: 9,300 lbs. maximum

AT-11 Photos by the Author

AT-11 Kansan S/N 3267 in the airpark at Barksdale AFB, Bossier City, Louisiana
AT-11 Kansan S/N 3267 in the airpark at Barksdale AFB, Bossier City, Louisiana