Stearman PT-17 (Model 75) 'Kaydet'
Courtesy of Sam Spencer and J.M. Spencer
Introduced in 1934, the "Kaydet" was built by the Stearman Aircraft Division of Boeing in Wichita, Kansas. Despite its aged design, it proved to be a successful trainer for novice U.S. Army Air Corps and Navy pilots, as well as U.S. allies, during World War II due to its simple and rugged construction. When production ended in 1944 nearly 8,600 Kaydets, in all versions had been built, plus enough spare parts to construct another 2,000 aircraft.
Once the war was over, thousands of surplus planes were sold on the civilian market and, with the Kaydet's flying characteristics and capabilities, became popular as crop dusters, sport planes, and for use in aerobatics at air shows. Many Kaydets are still in use today and remain a popular sport plane.
The Museum's airplane, built in 1941, is finished in the same color scheme and markings as it appeared during its service from 1943-45 at Tuskegee Army Airfield, Alabama, the principal training facility for Black airmen during World War II.