North American Aviation L-17A 47-1318

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The NAvion was the first civilian aircraft manufactured by North American Aviation, known for producing legendary military aircraft such as the P-51 Mustang fighter, AT-6 Texan trainer, B-25 Mitchell bomber and F-86 Saber Jet fighter. NAvions are rugged, capable aircraft that have excellent short landing and take-off capabilities, can land on relatively rough fields and carry 4 people or reasonable cargo capacity while still offering good range. The same qualities that made it attractive to civilian buyers caught the attention of the U.S. Army that needed a "flying pickup truck" for "liaison" duties such as personnel transport, light cargo duties and airborne reconnaissance. 83 aircraft were ordered in 1946 and given the military designation L-17A. North American sold the design along with about 60 uncompleted aircraft to Ryan Aeronautical Company, famed producer of the Spirit of St. Louis, in July 1947, and Ryan produced another 158 upgraded L-17Bs ordered in 1948, and a final order of 5 L-17Bs in 1949 for the Hellenic (Greek) Air Force. The rugged design and short-field qualities of the Navion were ultimately it's downfall - it was expensive to produce and slower than the competition.

The Navion is experiencing a popular resurgence based on it's rugged design, excellent flying qualities and availability of a broad range of speed and utility modifications. However, it's military heritage is not broadly known. Although 246 L-17s were manufactured, only about 60 remain today with very few in correct military colors and virtually none in an original configuration.

Myths and legends abound, but these aircraft served their country well and exist in relative obscurity today.  This web site is intended to preserve the military heritage of the L-17 by acting as a registry and central repository of photos, documents and other information.

L-17.ORG is dedicated to those that built, maintained and flew the North American/Ryan L-17/U-18 NAvion aircraft operated by the U.S. Army Air Forces, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Air National Guard, Civil Air Patrol and other Air Forces around the world from 1947 through the late 1960's and the current-day owners, operators and enthusiasts!

This site is made possible by our Contributors!

Bill Lattimer
Owner/Pilot, Ryan L-17B 48-1007

Material contained in this website is published for examination and evaluation by the reader. L-17.ORG/WARBIRD.ORG accepts no responsibility for any information on this website.