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Boeing-Stearman "Kaydet" Primary Trainer
October 1961 American Modeler

October 1961 American Modeler

October 1961 American Modeler magazine cover - Airplanes and Rockets Table of Contents

These pages from vintage modeling magazines like Flying Aces, Air Trails, American Modeler, American Aircraft Modeler, Young Men, Flying Models, Model Airplane News, R/C Modeler, captured the era. All copyrights acknowledged.

These, what appear to be official Boeing-Stearman drawings for the "Kaydet" biplane primary trainer, were published in the October 1961 issue of American Modeler magazine. The set of three sheets provide a high level of detail on materials and construction. The front view plan includes detail about the physical parameters as well as on instrumentation and power. Of course this is far from a full set of construction plans, but if you are building a scale model of the Boeing-Stearman Kaydet, the information should be useful. Included in the article is a brief history of the relationship between Boeing and Stearman, as well as on the formation of United Air Lines in 1928. According to the author, the "Kaydet" was the last standard biplane produced for the Army and Navy, more were manufactured than any other biplane design, with 10,346 being completed between 1936 and the end of World War II.

Boeing-Stearman "Kaydet" Primary Trainer

Boeing-Stearman "Kaydet" Primary Trainer plans, front view - Airplanes and Rockets

Boeing-Stearman "Kaydet" Primary Trainer plans, front view.

Incorporated by Lloyd Stearman in 1927, The Stearman Aircraft Company of Venice, California and later of Wichita, Kansas was one of America's foremost pioneer aircraft manufacturers. In 1927 and 1928 the Stearman Company was making a three-place commercial open cockpit bipe and a convertible mail and passenger model around a basic design with various powerplant installations. This three-place "Cloudboy" C3 commercial model with its Wright J5 Whirlwind engine proved to be the most popular model and the grand-daddy of famous "Kaydet" series.

By 1931 it was an established trend among major financial groups in America to consolidate their various activities. An example was the formation of United Air Lines as an operating company of the United Aircraft and Transport Corporation, formerly the Boeing Airplane and Transport Corporation and incorporated in 1928. United Air Lines consolidated the various airline subsidiaries of United Aircraft and Transport: National Air Transport, Boeing Air Transport, Varney Air Lines and Pacific Air Transport.

By 1933 United Aircraft and Transport held six manufacturing units along with United Air Lines: Boeing Aircraft of Seattle, Washington; Sikorsky Aviation Corporation of Bridgeport, Connecticut; Chance Vought, Pratt & Whitney and Hamilton Standard Propeller of Hartford, Connecticut; as well as The Stearman Aircraft Company which had been absorbed by United in 1929.

Boeing-Stearman "Kaydet" Primary Trainer plans, top view - Airplanes and Rockets

Boeing-Stearman "Kaydet" Primary Trainer plans, top view.

Boeing-Stearman "Kaydet" Primary Trainer plans, side view - Airplanes and Rockets

Boeing-Stearman "Kaydet" Primary Trainer plans, side view.

In the early 1930's, The Boeing Division at Seattle was developing and manufacturing heavy commercial transports while the Stearman-Wichita plant was busy making commercial biplanes. During this period Stearman also produced the Northrup Alpha and Beta airplanes in the Wichita plant.

In 1936, Stearman Aircraft had become a subsidiary of the Boeing Airplane Company and was designing and building training planes for the air forces, producing Model 75 for the Army and Model 73 for the Navy. Those were identical except for finish, powerplants and minor installations. From the 73 and 75, Stearman developed Model 76 for domestic and export sale. Produced with several powerplants and a variety of equipment, including floats and gun mountings, Model 76 was intended as an advanced trainer, scout plane and light bomber. In 1936 Stearman also produced the 81, a two-place biplane, basic trainer convertible to air-mail or military service. Powered with a Pratt and Whitney Wasp Junior engine Model 81 was closer to the original C3 biplane in appearance and design than the 73, 75 or 76.

Incorporating a variety of powerplants and minor equipment variations, all of the "Kaydet" series airplanes produced were based on the basic 73 and 75 design. In 1944 the PT-13D/N2S-5 model E75 was completely standardized for both the Army and Navy with the same airplane carrying both services' designations and serial numbers. Color scheme of this last of the "Kaydet" series was over-all silver with the World War II "star and bar" type cockade markings on fuselage and wings.

The "Kaydet" was the last standard biplane produced for the Army and Navy, more were manufactured than any other biplane design ... 10,346 being completed between 1936 and the end of World War II.

After the war, hundreds of surplus Boeing-Stearman "Kaydets" were purchased for private use. Today the "Kaydet" remains in demand, particularly among crop-dusters. With the front seat replaced by chemical spray tanks and a more powerful engine installed-including the 450 hp Pratt & Whitney-the old "Kaydet" becomes an efficient and practical duster-sprayer.

In addition to agricultural applications, modified "Kaydets" are in demand for aerobatic work.

Additional Details Will Appear in Winter Edition of "Air Progress" - on sale Nov. 28



Posted December 16, 2023

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