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  • Boeing-Stearman Kaydet Biplane Trainer Aircraft

    The Boeing-Stearman Kaydet trainer is now a much-loved collectors item for private aircraft owners.

     Updated: 7/3/2016; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    When The Boeing Company acquired the Stearman company in 1939, it also acquired the design and production rights to the promising Model 75 series, which itself was flown as the "X-70" as early as 1933. The two-seat biplane would evolved into a series of trainers under the PT-13, PT-15, PT-18 and PT-27 designations and serve through World War 2 and beyond, ultimately becoming a prize aircraft for any aviation aficionado.

    The "Kaydet" was initially received by the United States Navy in the form of the Model 73 production series and designated as the NS-1 produced in no fewer than 61 delivered examples. The Model 75 was derived from this production model which was then accepted by the United States Army as the PT-13. These versions were fitted with a Lycoming R-680 engine of 215 horsepower output. 2,141 PT-13 examples were produced and this in five subvariants (PT-13 followed by A, B, C, and D models). Further development led to increasingly improved versions of the base Model 75 that featured a host of powerplant and instrument changes. Kaydets were now being produced on orders numbering thousands and included a slew of USN and US Army variants differing mainly in engine types installed.

    Introduction of the Continental-brand R-670-5 series of engines led to a new designation as the PT-17 of which 3,519 were produced (across A- and B-model variants). Later models produced with a Jacobs R-755 powerplant were further designated as PT-18's and these numbered 150 units. The Boeing-Stearman design was also sold to Canada under Lend-Lease during World War 2 as the PT-27 (with enclosed cockpit) and numbered 300 examples delivered.

    Total production of Model 75 was approximately 9,800 units.

    The Canadian Lend-Lease Model 75s were called "Kaydet" and the name stuck over time, still being used today to identify the line. Kaydets managed to see considerable use after the war as well in the aerial acrobat role and crop dusting. Operators spanned the globe from Argentina and Bolivia to the Philippines and Venezuela (see operators listing below for complete global reach).

    Taiwan (Republic of China) was another wartime Lend-Lease partner and recipient of the Kaydet.

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    Boeing-Stearman PT-17A Kaydet Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1941
    Type: Biplane Trainer Aircraft
    National Origin: United States
    Manufacturer(s): Boeing-Stearman - USA
    Production Total: 9,800

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 1 or 2
    Length: 25.03 feet (7.63 meters)
    Width: 32.15 feet (9.80 meters)
    Height: 9.15 feet (2.79 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 1,936 lb (878 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 2,716 lb (1,232 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 1 x Continental R-670-5 Seven-cylinder radial developing 220 horsepower.

    Maximum Speed: 124 mph (199 kph; 107 knots)
    Maximum Range: 505 miles (812 km)
    Service Ceiling: 11,204 feet (3,415 meters; 2.12 miles)

    Armament / Mission Payload


    Global Operators / Customers

    Argentina; Bolivia; Brazil; Canada; China; Colombia; Cuba; Dominican Republic; Greece; Guatemala; Honduras; Iran; Israel; Mexico; Philippines; United States; Venezuela

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    X-70 - Original Stearman Prototype Model

    Model 75 - Stearman Developed X-70; Became Boeing product through acquisition of the Stearman company.

    NS-1 - US Navy Designation of the Model 73 production models; 61 examples delivered.

    PT-13 - US Army Model Designation fitted with Lycoming R-680-5 radial 215hp piston engine; 26 examples delivered.

    PT-13A - Further development of the PT-13; fitted with R-680-7 engine of 220hp; 92 examples produced.

    PT-13B - Fitted with R-680-11 powerplant; 255 examples delivered.

    PT-13C - Night Flying Conversion Models; 6 examples produced in this fashion.

    PT-13D - "Common" US Army and Navy Production Model.

    PT-17 - Fitted with Continental R-670-5 radial; 3,510 produced.

    PT-17A - "Blind Flying" Variant with specialized instrumentation; 18 such produced.

    PT-17B - "Pest Control" Variant for crop dusting; 3 such produced.

    N2S - US Navy Model Designation based on the Model 75.

    N2S-1 - USN Model; fitted with R-670-14 engine; 250 models produced.

    N2S-2 - USN Model; fitted with R-680-8 engine; 125 produced.

    N2S-3 - USN Model; fitted with R-670-4 engine; 1,875 produced.

    N2S-4 - USN Model; fitted with R-670-5 engine; 1,051 produced.

    N2S-5 - USN Model; fitted with R-680-17 engine; 1,450 examples produced.

    PT-18 - Variants fitted with Jacob R-755-7 radial powerplant.

    PT-18A - "Blind Flying" PT-18 Model Variant

    PT-27 - Canadian Export Model; 300 examples delivered; named "Kaydet" in Canada which today translates as the series name as a whole; Enclosed cockpit.