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.
The AT-11 on display is one of 1,582 ordered by the USAAF between 1941 and 1945, 36 of which were modified as AT-11A navigation trainers. It was donated to the museum by the Abrams Aerial Survey Corp., Lansing, Mich., in 1969, and is painted to represent a trainer in service during the autumn of 1943.
TECHNICAL NOTES: 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