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Boeing-Stearman Kaydet - United States, 1941

Detailing the development and operational history of the Boeing-Stearman Kaydet Biplane Trainer Aircraft.

 Entry last updated on 7/3/2016; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Boeing-Stearman Kaydet  
Picture of Boeing-Stearman Kaydet
Picture of Boeing-Stearman Kaydet Picture of Boeing-Stearman KaydetPicture of Boeing-Stearman KaydetPicture of Boeing-Stearman KaydetPicture of Boeing-Stearman KaydetPicture of Boeing-Stearman Kaydet

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

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.

Boeing-Stearman PT-17A Kaydet Specifications

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

Structural (Crew, Dimensions, Weights)

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

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

Power / Performance (Engine Type, Top Speed)

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

Maximum Speed: 107 knots (124 mph; 199 kph)
Maximum Range: 438 nautical miles (505 miles; 812 km)
Service Ceiling: 11,204 feet (3,415 meters; 2.12 miles)

Armament / Mission Payload


Global Operators (Customers, Users)

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

Model Variants

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.

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