fitted for budworm spraying. The original fabric covering of the fuselage has been replaced with metal.
(Photo: Bill Larkins)
Lloyd Stearman formed the Stearman Aircraft Corporation in 1927 and established a factory in Wichita, Kansas. Stearman Aircraft became a subsidiary of Boeing in 1934. A number of models were built for the airmail service or oil company executive travel. In Canada, Trans-Canada Air Lines bought three Stearman for pilot training and surveying new routes and were used from 1937 to 1939.
The best-known Stearman was the Model 75. The prototype of this two seat, open cockpit biplane first flew from Wichita in October 1934. It had fabric-covered wooden wings, single-leg landing gear and a welded-steel fuselage. Fitted with a Lycoming R-680 radial engine, the first trainers, designated PT-13s, were delivered to the US Air Corps in mid 1936. In 1940, demand for the trainer outstripped Lycoming’s capacity to supply engines. This led to the Continental R-670-engined version, the PT-17.
Widely known as the Stearman, Boeing Stearman, or Kaydet, it served as a primary trainer for the United States Army Air Forces and the United States Navy. Approximately 50% of all US military pilots, who fought in WW2 received their initial flight training in this sturdy aircraft. A further 10,000 RAF and Fleet Air Arm pilots used the Stearman trainer for primary training, at British Flying Training Schools throughout the United States, between 1941 and 1944.
Over 8,000 of the aircraft were built. No other biplane was ever produced in such numbers and hundreds remain airworthy. In the immediate postwar years they became popular as crop dusters, sports planes, and for aerobatic and wing walking use in air shows.
300 U.S.-built Stearmans (known as the PT-27) were obtained by the RAF in the spring of 1942 to be used by three RAF Elementary Flying Training Schools in Alberta. However, the aircraft were delivered without the promised night-flying equipment or cold-weather systems. In November, 1942, the decision was made by the RCAF to return the Stearmans to the USAAF in exchange for the same number of Fairchild Cornells with enclosed cockpits.
The Museum’s Stearman was one of a number of this type operated from Langley by Skyway Air Service in the 1950s and ‘60s. This aircraft was imported in 1960 and used as a trainer and was not included in the fleet equipped for fire suppression and budworm spray work. It remained in the Seller family until donated to the Museum in November 2016. It will be restored to flying condition.
Technical Details: A75N1 (PT-17 3,519 delivered)
The Skyway Stearman.
David Seller, son of Skyways founder, Art Seller, donated the aircraft to the Museum at a signing ceremony on 3 November, 2016. Accompanying him were several people who were associated with the original Skyways staff.
on 9 November by Museum President, Bruce Bakker.
Museum General Manager, Mike Sattler, signs the document to accept the Stearman into the collection.
on this aircraft under his fathers instruction and did his first solo flight at age 16!
In front is Dispatcher, Dorothy Thorp.