I have always wondered why we don’t see any N3N-1 aircraft. The only intact N3N-1 is in the country of Chile (South America), shown in this photo:
I am only aware of one existing N3N-1 (partial) airframe in the United States.
The N3N-3 has a survival rate of about 20%. With a production run of 180 aircraft, how come so few N3N-1 aircraft survive? If they survived at the same rate as the N3N-3 there ought to be a couple of dozen out there.
Like the discussions in the recent post about the BT-13, a major part of the answer lies in the commercial aspects. In a recent phone call, Ken Burnham gave the most important clue – the CAA (Civil Aeronautics Administration, the predecessor to the FAA) never type certified the N3N-1. So there were never any standard category N3N-1 airworthiness certificates issued.
It is hard to find documentation on CAA regulations. I wonder if the restricted category (Agricultural) required conversion from an aircraft with a standard category aircraft? If so, then perhaps there were no legal N3N-1 agricultural aircraft. Or else the process was so burdensome that few bothered to jump through the paperwork hoops. I have heard rumors of an operator in Mississippi who was flying an N3N-1 as agricultural aircraft, but I have seen no documentation.
Anyone have additional information on N3N-1 ag operations?