Delivered: December 19, 1940
Dec 1940 – NRAB Philadelphia, PA
Feb 2, 1943 – NAS Squantum
Sept 9, 1943 – Squantum
Sept 28, 1943 – Disposed
The airplane is a distinctly American invention, though initially regarded as entertainment or a toy for the wealthy. By 1913 Europe had taken the lead in aviation, developing the aircraft as a weapon. The start of WWI on April 6, 1917 brought new significance to aviation.
In 1917, the Navy decided to produce and control it’s own supply of aircraft. The Naval Aircraft Factory (NAF) was built at a cost of $900,000.00. The Navy felt the need to establish quality and price controls, while meeting the specific requirements of the military. The NAF would be at the forefront of aircraft development and testing while being the only factory to produce both engines and airframes. The factory employed 2,000 workers, up to 24 percent were women.
The NAF built the rugged and dependable N3N trainer shown here. The N3N served during WWII on nearly every naval training field.
Naval Aircraft Factory N3N-3 Yellow Peril Seaplane
- Delivered: December 8, 1941
- Served at Corpus Christi, TX, Pensacola, FL, Annapolis, Norfolk, VA, Adav Ellyson
- July 1, 1949 – Overhauled in Philadelphia, PA for further duty.
The Naval Aircraft Factory was the only factory to build both the engine and airframe. The N3N was made of bolted together steel tubing, with removable side panels, this allowed for easy access to the interior.
A rugged and dependable trainer, during WWII the N3N served on nearly every naval training field. The seaplane version was used at the US Naval Academy until 1961, becoming the last American biplane in military service.
After the war, N3Ns could be purchased for $500.00 and were highly modified and used as agricultural dusters and sprayers. Some early fire bombers were N3Ns fitted with water tanks.
The center floats are very rare, this one was found in a trailer park in northern California where it was serving as a flower bed. This “Yellow Peril” is one of only two restored N3Ns on floats. Four restored N3N’s are on display at Yanks and two dozen await restoration.
Naval Aircraft Factory assembly line circa 1936
No service history available
This is no Stearman. There are three Yellow Peril N3N’s restored and now on display at Yanks. This N3N was preserved without its fabric covering in order to compare construction methods between the WWII era trainer and the similarly uncovered Curtiss Jenny of WWI. These two biplanes span about twenty years and demonstrate the technological advances that lay the groundwork for today’s modern aircraft.
While the N3N increased in weight, speed, and ability so did the demands on the engine and airframe. The Jenny’s 90hp “V” configuration engine and wood construction gave way to the stronger, steel airframe and 235hp rotary engine.
The N3N was the last biplane in US military service and was retired from the U S Navy in 1961. The Army Air Forces Stearman aircraft were retired more than a decade earlier in 1948.
Yanks Air Museum has acquired more than twenty N3N’s with plans to recreate the Naval Aircraft Factory assembly line circa 1936.