Difficult to fly, easy to ground-loop – an entire generation of pilots earned their wings on the Boeing Stearman. It was an aircraft adopted by the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1943 as a supplemental trainer for the Tiger Moth. Prized for its advanced performance capabilities, it was soon rejected because the open cockpit wasn’t suitable for Canadian winters.
But perhaps it was underestimated. The Stearman had a rugged airframe stressed to handle high loads: 12 Gs positive and 9Gs negative. During the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s a large number of these airplanes were sold off and began a second life as barnstormers, crop dusters, and air show performers. They were a top choice for manoeuverability and aerobatic performance and achieved their greatest moment in the sun as the aircraft of choice for daredevil wing walkers. They continue to thrill audiences at airshows around the world today.
Courtesy of Vintage Wings of Canada, the Boeing Stearman will visit the Western Canada Aviation Museum on May 21-23 and be available for up-close inspection – sit in the cockpit and get a feel for the controls! Pilot and crew will be on hand to answer questions.
Special hours of operation for the visit are as follows:
- Monday May 21 Noon to 5:00 pm
- Tuesday May 22 9:30 am to 6:00 pm
- Wednesday May 23 9:30 am -10:30 am
A special admission rate of $5 for adults and seniors will be in effect. Members admission is free.
This particular Stearman flew at 32 Elementary Flying Training School (32EFTS) in Bowden, Alberta. It vanished for a number of years but was restored in the US and was purchased by Vintage Wings of Canada in 2011, and was upgraded to flying condition in Hamilton. It flew for the first time in 41 years on June 5, 2011.
- Crew: two, student and instructor
- Length: 24 ft 9 in (7.54 m)
- Wingspan: 32 ft 2 in (9.81 m)
- Height: 9 ft 8 in (3 m)
- Wing area: 298 sq ft (27.7 m²)
- Empty weight: 1,931 lb (878 kg)
- Max. takeoff weight: 2,635 lb (1,200 kg)
- Powerplant: 1 × Continental R-670-5 seven-cylinder air-cooled radial engine, 220 hp (164 kW)