Long Before The Dreamliner, Boeing Made The Stearman And It's Awesome

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In 1934 Boeing acquired the Stearman Aircraft Company and proceeded to pump out more than 10,000 variations of the iconic Model 75. It was easy to fly and supremely forgiving, which made the Stearman one of the best teachers you could ever have.


The U.S. Army officially title the aircraft "PT," (primary trainer) while the Navy dubbed it the "NS2." Even the Canadians had a "Kaydet" version for their Royal Armed Forces. Nicknamed the Yellow Peril, some pilots and owners claim this name resulted specifically from the Stearman's allegedly challenging ground-handling characteristics, although most WWII veteran flyers contend that the nickname was more of a generic reference to the dangerous nature of primary flight training, an endeavor in which the Stearman played a major role.

After the war thousands were auctioned off to former pilots and civilians with many converted to crop dusters and others slated for barnstorming and air shows. Since this bird never saw action in the war many were preserved, and over 1,000 examples are still flying today.

If you want to get a taste of what it's like to be at the controls, be sure to watch this Stearman training video starring Hollywood legend Robert "Bob" Taylor, a lieutenant in the USNR and an active flight instructor during World War II. After that you should be proficient at taxi and takeoff and hopefully be ready to complete the transition to the high performance P-51 Mustang. No problem.

Chris is a pilot who loves airplanes and cars and his writing has been seen on Jalopnik. Contact him with questions or comments via twitter or email.