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1920s - 1930s: Boeing Stearman Model 75 Kaydet

Just as the familiar de Havilland Tiger Moth was the principal basic trainer for pilots in British Commonwealth countries during the Second World war, so the Boeing Stearman Kaydet performed that same role for the military services of the United States.


Stearman In FlightDeveloped by the Stearman Aircraft Division of Boeing in 1934, by the time the US entered the war in December 1941, it was an almost obselete design. However it's simple, and rugged construction made it ideal for training novice pilots, and many US pilots had their first experience of flight in a Stearman.

Powered by a Continental or Lycoming radial of 220 - 225 hp, about 8600 examples of the type were completed (plus an extra 2000 more in spares). Following wartime service, thousands of surviving Stearmans became civilian aircraft, many of them used in America's growing aerial agriculture industry, just as the Tiger Moths did here in New Zealand.

Now highly prized as desirable classic biplanes, the Stearmans are very popular with private owners, so much so that New Zealand, which was never home to the type until relatively recently, can now boast several healthy flyable examples.

A Stearman aerobatics routine as seen from the onboard front cockpit.



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