"The Pilot Maker" was the name the North America T-6 Texan earned over the years. With over 17,000 produced in several versions these planes trained countless thousands of would-be pilots from every corner of the world. This little plane had a 58-year career in military service from 1938 until 1996 when the South African Air Force became the last air force in the world to retire their T-6. Even after most militaries retired the plane hundreds if not thousands of them found a new life in civilian service.
In 1949 Italy joined NATO and this made it possible for the new Aeronautica Militare Italiana to modernize its forces. Early in the 1950s an Italian Air Force Basic Flying School was formed in the Naples area and the training aircraft of choice was the North American Aviation T-6G Texan painted in camouflage orange. An AA+ marking on the aircraft was the designator for the Napoli school. By 1962 jet aircraft were the standard of most air forces and the Italian made Aermacchi MB326 jet trainer was replacing the Texan.