Friday, November 7, 2008
photo courtesy Paul J. Puglielli, Jr.
The Navion was North American's attempt to cash in on an anticipated postwat boom in civil aviation, and a way to keep production lines that suddenly had no P-51 and B-25 orders busy. This boom never fully materialized, but several thousand Navions ended up being built, although North American sold the rights to Ryan.
The USAAF did buy the L-17A laison version of the "Poor Man's Mustang" and after Ryan took over production the new USAF bought a further 163 L-17Bs. The military Navions lasted in service long enough to be redesignated as U-18s in 1962, but were soon phased out thereafter.
Pilot's report on the Navion