Stearman PT-13


Stearman, a Golden Age Classic

Lloyd Stearman formed Stearman Aircraft in Venice, California in 1926. Here, with the assistance of Mac Short, he Designed and built the first Stearman airplane, the C-1. This was quickly followed by the improved C-2. Aware of these Fine designs, friends and investors invited him to Kansas to reestablish his company in Wichita.

Stearman Aircraft Corporation of Wichita was established on September 27, 1927. The first Wichita product was a C-3MB mail plane delivered to Varney Airlines.

On August 15, 1929 Stearman Aircraft became part of the giant United Aircraft and Transport Corporation which Controlled several aviation businesses, such as United Airlines, Pratt & Whitney, Hamilton-Standard Propellers, Boeing, Sikorsky and Vought Aircraft. Lloyd Stearman left the company he founded at this time to become associated with Walter Varney in his airline Ventures. In 1932, Stearman became president of Lockheed Aircraft Corporation of California.

In September 1934, a government trust-busting suit separated United Aircraft's airline and manufacturing activities. The Boeing Aircraft Company, renamed from Boeing Airplane Company and a separate entity from Boeing Air Transport, pulled out of United And took Stearman with it as a wholly owned subsidiary.
The PT-13/N2S-3 traces its roots to the Stearman Model 70, built as a private venture to meet a 1934 U.S. Army Air Corps request for a new plane to replace its aging primary trainer fleet. Re-engined with a Wright J-5 Whirlwind, the design was first ordered by the U.S. Navy in 1935 as the NS-1. Using a Lycoming R-680-5 radial engine and known as the Model 75, the Air Corps ordered the type into production as the PT-13 in 1936. With a variety of engines and designations, the Model 75 went on to become one of the most widely produced and used primary trainers in U.S. military service. The Model 75 biplane featured a fabric-covered, welded steel tube fuselage and spruce wing construction, and enjoyed a reputation as a simple, cost effective design. Student pilots occupied the front cockpit, while the instructor sat in a rear cockpit with identical controls. Its rugged, forgiving nature made it an excellent primary trainer, providing a relatively safe introduction for pilot trainees into military flight. When Boeing bought the Stearman Company in the middle 1930s, production of the Model 75 continued for the military. Although built by Boeing, the airplanes in production and those subsequently produced to the end of WWII which were "Boeings" by their paperwork and nameplates were stubbornly called "Stearmans" by everyone associated with them. The practice continues today.

. In 1940 a Continental R-670-5 engine was fitted to the design to create the PT-17, of which over 3,500 were eventually ordered for U.S. Army service. The plane also enjoyed large Navy use as the N2S, and in 1942 both services adopted an interchangeable version known as the N2S-5/PT-13D. Stearman demand at the outbreak of World War II outstripped engine supply, so another powerplant, the Jacobs R-755-7, was used on the airframe to create the PT-18. Several countries bought Stearmans, including Canada, which employed 300 PT-27s under a Lend-Lease agreement with the United States. The PT-27 differed from the PT-17 in having a canopy over both cockpits, a crankcase cowl and landing lights in the lower wings, as well as heat and electrical systems.

Many Stearmans are still flying today and have been used as crop dusters,air show aircraft,and are a fovorite amoung antique airplane buffs.Some are restored to there original configuration and painted in the original stock Navy or Army paint scheme. While others are highly modified and have engine cowling and wheel pants installed and sport beautiful custom paint jobs.Stearmans and their owners gather every year in Gailsburg, Il for the annual Stearman fly-in.

The PT-13 was typical of the biplane primary trainer used during the late 1930s and WW II. Whereas it was powered by a Lycoming engine, the same airplane with a Continental engine was designated the PT-17, and with a Jacobs engine, the PT-18. A later version which featured a cockpit canopy was designated the PT-27.

Of 10,346 Kaydets ordered for the U.S. and its Allies, 2,141 were PT-13s for the AAF. Following WW II, the Kaydet was phased out in favor of more modern trainers.

SPECIFICATIONS
Span: 32 ft. 2 in.
Length: 24 ft. 10 in.
Height: 9 ft. 2 in.
Weight: 2,717 lbs. loaded
Armament: None
Engine: Lycoming R-680 of 220 hp..
Cost: $11,000

PERFORMANCE
Maximum speed: 125 mph.
Cruising speed: 104 mph.
Range: 450 miles
Service Ceiling: 14,000 ft.

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1997 dgraves549@aol.com