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Army Air Corps PT-13D Kaydet

An up close encompassing drone view of the World War II U.S. Army Air Corps PT-13D Kaydet trainer aircraft displayed with Tuskegee airmen at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

The United States and several Allied nations used the Kaydet as a standard primary trainer from the late 1930s to the end of World War II.

Originally designed in 1933 by Lloyd Stearman for the civilian market, it received the designation PT-13 Kaydet when the U.S. Army Air Corps adopted it in 1936. Two years later, the Boeing Airplane Co. purchased the Stearman Co. and continued producing many versions of the Kaydet using different engines.

Those aircraft with a Lycoming engine were designated the PT-13; with a Continental engine, the PT-17; and with a Jacobs engine, the PT-18. A later version with a cockpit canopy was designated the PT-27.

Well-liked by students who flew it, the Kaydet trained many thousands of pilots during WWII. Following the war, the U.S. Army Air Forces phased out Kaydets in favor of more modern trainers.

Of the more than 10,000 Kaydets ordered for the United States and its allies, over 2,100 were PT-13s for the USAAF. The museum's PT-13D was donated in 1959 by Boeing, and it is painted as it looked leaving the assembly line.

National Museum of the U.S. Air Force video
by Ken LaRock
February 2021

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