Beech Model 26


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Beech Model 26

The rapid expansion of US training facilities in 1941 created a sudden need for trainer aircraft at a time when it seemed likely that raw materials, notably aluminium and magnesium alloys, would have to be conserved for first-line types. An engineering team led by Beech's T.A. Wells evolved the Beech Model 26, which was the first all-wood trainer to be accepted by the US Army Air Force. This was given the designation AT-10 Wichita. The design avoided, where possible, the use of compound curves and of hot moulding processes for the structure's sub-assemblies, allowing them to be sub-contracted to non-specialist wood-working firms: 85 per cent of the airframe was manufactured on this basis, with final assembly by Beech.

Metal airframe parts were limited to engine nacelles and cowlings, and panelling around the cockpit section. Perhaps the most interesting innovation was the use of wooden fuel tanks lined with synthetic rubber. For operation as a multi-engined conversion trainer, the Wichita was equipped with dual controls and an autopilot, and entry to the cockpit was via rearward-sliding side windows. The AT-10 was powered by two 220kW Lycoming R-680-9 engines, and by 1943 Beech had completed four contracts, for 150, 191, 18,080 and 350 aircraft respectively, bringing the total built at Wichita to 1,771. The last of these was delivered on 15 September 1943. Beech then supplied engineering and production data to the Globe Aircraft Corporation of Dallas, Texas, so that a further 600 could be manufactured.

 ENGINE2 x Lycoming R-680 radial piston engines, 220kW
  Take-off weight2781 kg6131 lb
  Loaded weight2155 kg4751 lb
  Wingspan13.41 m44 ft 0 in
  Length10.46 m34 ft 4 in
  Wing area27.68 m2297.94 sq ft
  Max. speed319 km/h198 mph
  Ceiling5150 m16900 ft
  Range1239 km770 miles

Bill Graham, e-mail, 17.09.2017 02:59

April 1942 my parents married and immediately both went to work for Beech Aircraft in Wichita KS. My father had just finished wood /carpentry technical training. I don't yet know the exact time line but at some point he was a foreman on an AT-10 (model 26) fuselage line. After six years at Beech my folks moved on to other pursuits. At the time of departure Beech Aircraft gifted them with a framed picture of an AT-10 in flight.
BTW - the Tuskegee airmen trained in the AT-10 as the first twin engine after learning on singles.


Ian miles, e-mail, 24.03.2015 02:54

Hi everyone. I know this is an old thread, but I am trying anything I can to find information on the Beech AT-10, specifically any drawings or details or the airframe construction, any interior photos etc. a decent set of three views with section and station details would be an early Christmas present. I'm modeling her in large scale and need some good references to go from. Thanks. Ian Ianwmiles at


Paul N. Strucely, e-mail, 06.01.2014 00:47

I trained as a Bombardier Cadet in Roswell NM and flew practice missions in the desert in an A10 fitted with a Norden Bombsight. 1944.


lxbfYeaa, e-mail, 14.03.2024 Paul N. Strucely



Bob Mitchell, e-mail, 15.12.2010 05:12

I flew this A /C in VT-6 Whiting Field as an All Weather Flight Instructor from 1961-64. Over 2000 hours during this time. Great aircraft that was very forgiving. Known as the Super Navy Bomber (SNB) Many fond memories


walter knott, e-mail, 17.10.2010 19:20

Interesting...we flew these as communication planes in the RCAF and then after I left I used the AT11 model for aerial photo work across Canada including the Arctic, and large sections of our western provinces for mapping and agricultural work. They were boosted and had a huge tank in the fuselage so we could go to 24,000 ft and stay up for 7 hours...and single set controls as the access to the nose was via the co seat. Had fun, saw huge areas of the country, and the two we used were dependable and solid workhorses. Did that for 4 summers ...


W. T. Olde, e-mail, 12.10.2010 22:45

I trained in Advanced in an AT-10 in 1943, and later became an instructor in that aircraft for most of 1944. A fine reliable flying machine with great visability from the cockpit.


John Berryman, e-mail, 26.03.2010 19:12

My Dad tought insturment flying in an AT-10 somewhere in Texas during the war. He inlisted right after the Pearl Harbor attack. When he told me it was made out of wood I thought he was fooling me, but no it was wood asssembled. God Bless those men & women who fought for our freedems so long ago.....


Joe Hauser, e-mail, 03.01.2010 03:57

Half my advanced training was in the AT-10 because it had enough instruments for blind instrument training. the other
half I flew the AT-9 which was faster and a much better two engine trainer especially for those of us who were sent to the B26 outfits. I was in class 43B


Carol Brookshier, e-mail, 07.09.2009 04:50

I am in possession of the front part of one of these aircraft. It was purchased in the 40s by my grandfather. It was played in by myself and many cousins.


Sam Grves, e-mail, 24.07.2009 20:55

I am restoring a Beech (model 26) AT-10. If anyone has any information on parts it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


leo rudnicki, e-mail, 17.04.2009 03:51

The Vee tail was tested on one of these aircraft.


Keith Phelps, e-mail, 08.07.2008 03:41

the text says 18,080 aircraft. Should be 1,080.


wayne nelson, e-mail, 19.06.2008 05:58

I have the remains of one of these. Only one I know of ouside USAF Musuem. Anyone interested in a real long project?


BOB SEYMOUR, e-mail, 23.05.2008 03:30

I took Advanced pilot training in the beaverboard bomber, AT-10. Graduated May, 1943. Then they sent me to instructors school and I instructed until Dec. 1944.


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