Can you identify these WWII aircraft?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by tom_halfhill, Oct 31, 2016.

  1. Sorry if this question is a little off-topic, but the Off-Topic forum has disappeared. I've been scanning more old family photos and need help identifying some World War II-era aircraft. I scanned the images below from box-camera negatives that are rapidly deteriorating. I'm not certain, but I have reason to believe they were taken at a U.S. Army Air Force base in Texas where bomber pilots were trained during the war. Perhaps these planes are trainers, but I'm unfamiliar with the types. Can anyone please identify them?
  2. Here is the second scanned photo.
  3. The first is a Spartan Executive 7W, or its military derivative, the Spartan Zeus 8W. Note the dorsal fairing for a radio-direction-finding loop antenna, a military-specific piece of kit. The aircraft shown are most likely civilian models acquired by the USAAF as expedients for training, as they retain their civilian paint schemes. This aircraft would have been a contemporary of and a direct competitor with the Beech Staggerwing, the late-1930's equivalent of today's Learjet. The second is a Beech 18, not to be confused with a Lockheed Electra of similar configuration. Color me an airplane geek, among other things...
  4. Yes, that Beechcraft 18 looks very close, thanks. The Wikipedia page you referenced calls it an AT-7 (military designation) and shows it flying as a trainer over Kelly Field, Texas. That ties into my other clues. I found these negatives among others taken when one of my uncles graduated from a USAAF flight school in Texas during World War II. He went on to become a B-24 Liberator pilot, so it makes sense that he would train in a multiengine aircraft after winning his single-engine wings.
  5. David, thanks for that ID. I knew there would be some airplane geeks on And I really like the look of that Spartan. Now if only I could identify the numerous unfamiliar people in the negatives I'm scanning...
  6. I have the same issue: identifying some G.I.s who my Dad (now deceased) photographed on Guaracanal in 1944-45.
  7. Tom, the shot of the Beechcraft must have been taken in 1942 or earlier. The red spot on the star insignia was eliminated not long after Pearl Harbor, because of the possible ID confusion with Japanese aircraft.
    Ellis, I have similar problem with a bunch of photos taken by my father when he was stationed in the Panama Canal Zone in 1930...
  8. William, good point about the red dot in the USAAF insignia. I had forgotten that. Yes, I suspect these photos were taken around 1942 before the insignia changed -- although it's possible that trainers limited to stateside service retained the red dot a little longer than front-line aircraft did.
    Yet to be scanned are numerous photos that my late father took in Japan while stationed there with the occupation forces in 1946. Some of them will be a more difficult challenge than even the rapidly deteriorating box-camera negatives. In addition to using his 620-format Kodak Brownie, apparently he acquired a cheap 35mm camera in Japan and used it for a while before selling it. I found several rolls of developed but uncut 35mm negatives that have been tightly wound in film cans since the 1940s. They are too curly and fragile to scan. I will try to make a film-strip holder for my Nikon slide copier, then dupe them with a DSLR.
  9. I was slow on getting into this thread. Happily, I came up with the same answers as others.
    A very good site for identifying aircraft is this one

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