Three features of N3N history are commonly cited as record-setting:
1. The only aircraft that was both designed and built by the US Government
2. The last biplane in US Military Service (1960)
3. The longest serving biplane in US Military Service, 1935 – 1960 (25 years)
But the BT-13 post below got me thinking about the survival rate of the N3N. The high survival rate is due to a combination of stout airframe (built like a bridge…) and commercial success, with some dusters working into the 1980s.
Only 816 N3N-3 aircraft were built. The FAA has 170-some registrations (it varies – I got 173 last time I run the list) and at least 6 are registered in other countries. So we have about 180 registrations, or some 22% of total production currently registered.
Does any other WWII era aircraft in volume production come close to a 22% survival rate? For this discussion lets set the “volume production” minimum as 100 units produced – to exclude limited production prototypes (i.e. 3 prototypes built, 1 survives – a 33% survival rate). For the BT-13 to match the N3N-3 percentage there would need to be over 2000 registrations. Or how about 3400 T-6/SNJ/Harvard registrations?
Any other Record-Setting features of our favorite aircraft?
– Is it the only fabric covered, all aluminum aircraft (most fabric aircraft have welded-tube steel fuselage)?
– Is it the first all-aluminum structure primary trainer for the US military?
– Is it the only convertible Land/Sea primary trainer ever produced? (The OJ-1 was a fleet aircraft, not a trainer)
Please chime in with any thoughts and comments…