Boeing Stearman PT

The 1930s in the USA were tough…

Recession, a lot of unemployment, poverty. This was also not the best time for the Air Force to purchase new aircraft. It was slow due to lack of funding. Finally, in 1936, they provisionally purchased 26 airframes of Boeing Model 75, named PT 13 by the Air Force.

As the 1930s progressed, it became clear that war was on the horizon. For the Air Force, this meant all hands on deck. The meager 26 copies purchased to try quickly became a constant stream. In 1940 alone, more than 3,500 Boeing Stearmanns were delivered.

Unexpected succes

The Boeing-Stearman was introduced by Boeing’s Stearmann Aircraft Division (acquired 1934) in Wichita, Canada. The aircraft was designed by Lloyd Stearman before the company was acquired by Boeing.

The plane was an unexpected success. The robust design made the aircraft ideal for training for novice pilots of the US Air Force and Navy. The Air Force trained with the types PT-13 and 17, the navy with the NS and N2S.

9,80 m wingspan | 2,95 m height| Max. 200 km/h

Development

During the 1930s and 1940s, more than 8,500 Stearmanns were built in all variants, and more than 2,000 units as parts.

Na de oorlog werden duizenden overbodige vliegtuigen verkocht en omgebouwd naar sproeivliegtuigen, sportvliegtuigen of als stuntvliegtuig voor vliegshows.

What’s in a name

The plane has different names depending on where and who was flying it. Although officially called Boeing Model 75, the aircraft is mainly known under the name “Stearmann”. The name PT followed by a type number comes from the Air Force. The Navy has named it N2S and Kaydet’s name comes from the Canadian forces.

876 kg empty weight | 812 km range 

Design

The Stearman was actually outdated at the time of introduction. The biplane design had meanwhile been overtaken by monoplane models. Yet it became a popular plane, because of the 2 open cockpits in a row and the sturdy and therefore forgiving design, it was very suitable for practice.

Het vliegtuig had een constructie van hout en metaal. De vleugels waren van hout met een stoffen bekleding, de romp was een gelaste metalen constructie en vervolgens ook met stof bekleed.

The radial engine was not covered in the original, but there are also many copies where the engine is covered. A well-known example of this is the Red Baron Stearmann Squadron.

Different Types PT

It goes too far to discuss all types and variants. But the best known is the Stearmann PT 17. The first design was the PT-13 prototype, which evolved into the PT-17. This was also the most successful type, of all variants there are in total the most built, more than 3200.

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After WW II

Stearman are distributed worldwide, for military use as well as as a civil aircraft. Many were still in use until the 1990s. Its ability to fly low and slow made it very suitable as a crop protection sprayer.

A real warbird

Today there are still a significant number of Stearmans in flight condition worldwide. It is estimated that there are still around 1000 examples of airworthiness. And old, abandoned specimens are regularly found and restored to their original condition.

The Boeing-Stearman is an appealing aircraft that is reminiscent of the early days of aviation. The nostalgic appearance, the robust version, has just as much appeal as at the first presentation. It is truly a real warbird.

And no stranger to us!

We have quite a few of these Stearman in different versions in terms of maintenance and support.

We also carry out in-house repair and overhaul work for selected engines for these aircraft.