Photo: Drew Naylor
PT-17 Kaydet (Stearman)
Restored to flying condition
The Boeing-Stearman Model 75, known as the PT-17 Kaydet by the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) and the N2S “Yellow Peril” by the U.S. Navy, was the first military aircraft trainee pilots would fly. Lacking flaps, retractable landing gear, or a variable pitch propeller, its simple nature was excellent for new pilots not familiar with these more complex features. By the end of the war 8,584 Kaydets had been assembled, along with enough spare parts to build another 1,762. Postwar use by crop dusters and wing walkers helped solidify the “Stearman” as the iconic American biplane.
The PT-17 on display was delivered to the Navy on 9 June 1943. Despite being a U.S. Navy aircraft, it spent its military career far from any ocean. It was used for Naval Air Primary Training, first at Naval Air Station Memphis in Tennessee, and later at Naval Air Station Bunker Hill in Indiana. With the end of the war in August 1945, it was moved to the station’s unassigned aircraft pool. It was then transferred to Naval Air Station Ottumwa in Iowa, where it was stricken on 31 October 1946.
Following a crash in August 1958, the remains of the airplane were stored for many years. It was restored by Pete Jones of Air Repair Inc. in May 1991 for David Funk with many brand new parts – including the wood wings. Mr. Funk flew the airplane for about five years, giving rides to over 150 World War II veterans. It was purchased by the Tri-State Warbird Museum in 2005.
Bureau Number: 38278 | Tail: N224DF
Boeing / Stearman
Crew: Pilot, Trainee / Passenger
Engine: Continental R-670-4 7 cylinder air cooled radial
Max Speed: 124 mph
Wingspan: 32 ft, 2 in
Length: 25 ft
Height: 9 ft, 4 in
Max Weight: 2,726 lbs
Service Ceiling: 13,000 ft
Max Range: 373 miles
Fuel Capacity: 46 gallons