Sometimes I am having so much fun that I can't wait for an official announcement. This beautiful N2S-2 U.S. Navy trainer flying the NAS Corpus Christi colors from 1943 has a truly outstanding 3d model with the best sounds yet (deep, throaty, every bone in your body vibrating at military power setting, type sounds). The package is still in development (port over from x-plane) by krzysk, but, comes with 3 liveries, the USN that you see here, a similar U.S. Army trainer, and the original designer's pet - a purplish-pinkish color with his name on the fuselage.
In 1934, the original Stearman 75 had fabric-covered wooden wings, single-leg landing gear and an over-built welded steel fuselage. It only came with a 9-cylinder radial engine - Lycoming, Continental, Jacobs or Wright Whirlwind - with 220 or 225 hp. The tandem-seat open cockpit design was ideal for military training and was the goto trainer for most of WWII, even though the biplane was an obsolete design by the mid 1940s. Its simple, rugged construction made it ideal as a trainer for novice pilots for the U.S. Army Air Corps (PT-13/-17) and Navy (NS/N2S). Between 1936 and 1944, Boeing built 8,584 Kaydets, in all versions, plus the equivalent of 2,000 more in spares.
Kaydets were widely used airplanes. In addition to sales to the U.S. Navy and the Army Air Corps, the trainers were sold to Canada, China, the Philippines, Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil for both military and civilian uses. Many were still in service in the early 1990s. Their slow, low-level flying capabilities made them particularly suitable for crop dusting and spraying.
Solo flying is from the back seat only so make sure you know where that big prop is pointed when taxiing or rolling for takeoff. Most of the wooden props were provided by Sensenich (just a big version of the one on the Cub Special) but, with the larger post-war engines by Pratt & Whitney and Jacobs you will find McCauley and Hamilton Standard steel propellers. After the war, both the Boeing/Stearman 75 and the R-985 Wasp Junior engine were in great supply as military surplus so those fortunate ones with a little money in their pockets in the late 1940s could buy as many as they could afford - kinda like the deal of the century.
The tailwheel can be one of many variations. Our Navy model typically had a swivel type with a lock, while the Army used a fully steerable version - the Navy called these 'training wheel'. Go Navy, beat Army.
I tried to find an estimate for the number of pilots that learned to fly in this plane. I didn't find the actual number, but it is many thousands of military pilots plus a lot more that used one of the government sponsored flight training programs prior to WWII.
There must be a gazillion variants, with many still flying or at least owned and in someone's hangar or backyard or actively crop dusting someplace in South America or Australia. Some are more famous than others and are in a museum someplace. I recently saw one that President George H. W. Bush flew during his initial training as a Naval Aviator at Pensacola, Florida on display at the Pearl Harbor Aviation museum. You can still find one ready to take you on a short flying adventure provided you have enough money to buy your ticket. Not far up the road from my house, the local university has a PT-17 in regular use as a research aircraft (i.e. glider tow-plane). Just about every military museum will have a bright yellow one on the floor or hanging from the ceiling.
This is a big, tall airplane with a huge propeller. Typical empty weight is 1,931 lb with a max takeoff weight of 2,635 lb. Cruise speed is 106 mph, range 505 miles, and ceiling of 11,200 ft. Wing span is 32 ft. 2 in, length 24 ft. 9 in, and height of 9 ft. 8 in. The fun to fly factor is 10.0.
Cruise is usually at 65% power to get the 106 mph with fuel coming from a single 43 gallon tank with a 4 gallon oil supply tank installed in the engine compartment. Landing speed is just a hair over 50 mph. Typical climb rate is 800 fpm at gross weight.
You might want to run down to your local Army/Navy Surplus store and pick up a nice set of goggles and a silk scarf just in case.