Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum
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British Commonwealth Air Training Plan

​The Northrop A-17A Nomad​
​​Based on the Northrop Company’s successful single-engine, mono-wing civilian Gamma aircraft, the Northrop A-17 was a modified for military use, light-attack aircraft first built for the United States Army-Air Corp. First delivered in 1935, a total of 411 A-17 models were built., It is a two seat, light attack bomber, which like many of the aircraft of that era, became obsolete before the start of World War II. Its obsolescence was based on the policy adopted by the USAAF in 1938 that all of its attack aircraft were to be multi-engined. The USAAF A-17s saw their last service in 1944. Other countries which purchased the Northrop A-17 included Argentina, Peru, Sweden, the Netherlands, Iraq, Norway and South Africa,

In 1940, the Royal Air Force acquired 61 Northrop A-17As for training purposes. They came from a lot of 93 aircraft purchased by France, but never delivered prior to the German occupation of that country. These aircraft came as used by the USAAC and refurbished by Douglas Aircraft for the French Air Force.

With the fall of France, the Royal Air Force acquired a number of these aircraft and passed on 32 to the Royal Canadian Air Force. The RCAF designated them as the Northrop Nomad A-17A, With RCAF markings and serial numbers between 3490 and 3521, the RCAF put them to work first at Camp Borden Ontario to determine if civilian trained pilots had the skills and knowledge to fly for the RCAF. They were also assigned to Canada’s No. 3 Training Command at British Commonwealth Air Training Plan schools in Mountain View, Trenton and Uplands in Ontario, and at Mr. Joli Quebec. In the BCATP, the Nomads were used for target towing in air gunnery training. The Nomad showed similarities in performance and characteristics to the Fairey Battle.

The Northrop Nomad A-17A Mk.1 was manned by a pilot and observer. This Canadian variation was  powered by the Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp Junior R-1535-13 radial engine rated at 825 horsepower and equipped with completely retractable landing gear. It attained a maximum speed of 220 mph with a service ceiling of 19,400 feet and range of 730 miles. It measured 47 wide x 31 long x 12 high  feet. It could carry up to four forward facing 0.30 calibre machine guns mounted in its wings. The Observer was given another 0.30 calibre machine gun mounted on a swivel for defence of the aircraft above and to the sides and back of the aircraft. The Nomad A-17A was 
Northrop A-17A Nomad
Special Hobby Model Company Illustration
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capable of carrying four 100 pound bombs on wing racks.

The Norwegian Air Force, in exile in Toronto Ontario utilized the  
Northrop A-17As as aircraft trainers in their own training scheme.

With the end of World War II, all of the Northrop Nomads were struck from service by the RCAF and disposed of by the War Assets Corporation.

The Douglas Aircraft Company acquired the Northrop Company late in the war.