Home » PT-17 Stearman, s/n 75-1308, USN Bu No. 3531

PT-17 Stearman, s/n 75-1308, USN Bu No. 3531

A U.S. sailor cranking the engine of a Stearman N2S-2 Kaydet (BuNo 3553) at the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas (USA), in 1943. Public Domain – Created: 31 December 1942

The Kaydet, the two-seater biplane introduced by Stearman Aircraft Division of Boeing in Wichita, Kan., in 1934, became an unexpected success during World War II. Despite its almost obsolete design, its simple, rugged construction made it ideal as a trainer for novice pilots for the U.S. Army Air Corps (PT-13/-17) and Navy (NS/N2S).

The Kaydets had fabric-covered wooden wings, single-leg landing gear and an over-built welded-steel fuselage. Only radial engines were used. Between 1936 and 1944, Boeing built 8,584 Kaydets, in all versions, plus the equivalent of 2,000 more in spares.

U.S. Navy Parachute Rigger 3rd Class Lorna Peterson, USNR(W), climbs out of the after cockpit of a Stearman N2S training plane, following an orientation flight at Naval Air Station Ottumwa, Iowa (USA), circa 1944-45. The pilot was Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Keith W. Sharer, USNR, a flight instructor at the station. Public Domain – Created: circa 1944-1945

Kaydets were widely used airplanes. In addition to sales to the U.S. Navy and the Army Air Corps, the trainers were sold to Canada, China, the Philippines, Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil for both military and civilian uses. Many were still in service in the early 1990s. Their slow, low-level flying capabilities made them particularly suitable for crop dusting and spraying.

Our aircraft was accepted by the Navy on July 9, 1941. It was assigned to the Naval Air Station (NAS) at Corpus Christi, Texas, and was transferred to Naval Reserve Aviation Base (NRAB) in Detroit, Mich., on April 9, 1942. Its next assignment was to Naval Air Intermediate Training (NAIT) at Rodd Field, Corpus Christi, Texas, on April 1, 1944. The aircraft was assigned to the pool in Dallas In November 1944 until it was stricken from the record on Nov. 30,1944. This aircraft bears serial number 75-1308, USN Bu No. 3531, and FAA Registry number N50329. Stearman became a subsidiary of Boeing in 1934.