To be more precisely this 76 years old (had left Wichita factory March 12th 1941) Boeing PT-17 Stearman (U.S. Navy version N2S-3) is the oldest registered airplane in Poland (registration SP-YWW). During WWII served as basic trainer aircraft for a few dozens of US NAVY pilots in Naval Air Stations: Hutchinson (Kansas), Dallas (Texas), Bunker Hill (Indiana) and Corpus Christi (Texas). After the war sold to Desota Flying Service company, where with bigger engine, metal propeller and an additional tank for chemicals was cropdusting for several years.
In 70’s, WWII veteran Elemer Harmes (B-24 and P-39 pilot) bought PT-17 and kept for private use for more than 30 years. Then, in 2009, 100 years old Elmer sold Stearman to Thomas Newell, who had begun aircraft renovation. After 3 years with renovated engine, a new aircraft fabric cover, electrical and fuel installation the “714” (Thomas’ son was born July 14th) was flyable again.
Few years later a group of Polish aviation enthusiasts decided to buy airplane and bring it to Poland, the registration SP-YWW was given by one of the owners – pilot Mateusz Strama (“Yankee Whiskey Whiskey sounds cool when you’re in flight” says Mateusz). From 2014 airplane is often guest on aviation events in Poland, piloted by Mateusz Strama (in usual day an airliner pilot) and feasts spectators eyes and ears.
It is blog mainly about photography, so I’m not going to put here any technical data, which can be found on other web pages, just a bunch of quite interesting facts:
- yellow color of Stearman (and many others training airplanes) comes from old maritime signaling system, where yellow flag meant: “disease/quarantine on board – keep away from me”
- he is allowed to basic acrobatics, but to keep him in as good shape as possible none of them are performed
- burns 60 liters of petrol and 1 liter of oil for 1 hour flight
- he’s not equipped with artificial horizon
- it is possible to rent for photo sessions like weddings etc. unfortunately I got married few years before, co I couldn’t and I’m not going to get married again for wedding photo session with Stearman or any other airplane ;-)
- costs approx. $150k
- there is older flyable aircraft in Poland – build in 1939 Tiger Moth, but he is not registered in Poland
Last but not least – I would like to thank to Mateusz and the rest of the owners for devoting their time and money and giving me a lot of fun taking photos and admiring Stearman cruising over my head on southern border of EPNT.
Official website: stearman.pl
FB fanpage: http://www.facebook.com/Stearmanpl-374363836038877/
An interview with Mateusz Strama and some more photos: dlapilota.pl
Yet another interview and photos: zwyklezycie.pl