Navy History – Stearman 55708
10 July 1943 – Navy accepts BuAeroNo 55708 at Boeing’s Wichita, Kansas plant.
15 July 1943 – 55708 assigned to Naval Air Station Bunker Hill, Indiana.
August 1943 – Assigned to Naval Auxiliary Air Facility, St. Louis, Missouri.
30 September 1944 – Stricken from Navy records due to damage. Repaired at NAAF St. Louis. Details of the accident or repairs are unknown, but 55708 was probably damaged as the result of a “ground loop.”
28 February 1945 – After repair at NAAF St. Louis, 55708 is reinstated to active duty and assigned to Naval Air Pilot Training (NAPT) Dallas, Texas.
June 1945 – Assigned to NAS Bunker Hill, Indiana.
August 1945 – Assigned to NAS Ottumwa, Iowa, where it remains until World War II ends.
31 August 1945 – Stricken from Navy records at NAS Ottumwa. Ownership transferred to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, the agency designated by the Surplus Property Board of the government to dispose of surplus property.
January 1946 – 55708 sold as surplus by the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and assigned civilian registration NC60198. Sale price was $523.05.
|Registration Number||Date of Manufacture|
|Primary Trainer||Yellow Peril|
|N2S-4 Boeing Stearman||32′ 2″|
|Overall length:||Empty weight:|
|24′ 9″||2144 Lbs.|
|Gross weight:||Fuel capacity:|
|2950 Lbs.||46 Gallons|
|Oil capacity||Engine type:|
|4.4 Gallons||Continental W670-6N|
|Propeller type:||Max Speed|
|McCauley 41D5926, Metal Two Blade||186 Miles Per Hour|
|Rate of Climb||Cruise Speed|
|700 Feet Per Minute||105 Miles Per Hour|
|Service Ceiling||Number of Crew|
|Two. Instructor and Student|
|Number Built||Number Surviving|
Restoration of Stearman N60198
In May 1983, master aircraft mechanic Allen Thompson of Senoia, Georgia purchased Stearman N60198. The airplane, which had been a crop duster since it was sold as government surplus in 1945, was a virtual “basket case” that required a total restoration that took many years.
BuAerNo 55708 (N60198’s Navy serial number) was manufactured by the Stearman Aircraft Division of Boeing in June 1943. A genuine Navy airplane, it is one of 122 airplanes originally intended to be Army Air Corps PT-17’s, but the contract was transferred to the Navy due to a shortage of training airplanes.
Production began before the contract was transferred, so this group of Navy airplanes was delivered with Army Air Corps airspeed indicators and compasses, as well as external access to the cockpit fire extinguisher. Because of their configuration and engines, the Navy designated this group of airplanes N2S-4’s. Except for paint color and markings, they were identical to Army Air Corps PT-17’s. Total cost of the airplane in 1943, including Government Furnished Equipment (engine, propeller, wheels, instruments and tires), was $8,102.00.
Restoration to its original Navy configuration was completed in May 2010. Post-restoration test flight was done by retired Delta captain and Stearman owner/pilot Jim Ratliff of Atlanta, Georgia. After minor final adjustments, the airplane was flown to Pensacola, Florida on 24 May 2010, by its current owner, Roy M. Kinsey, Jr. After its arrival in Pensacola, Stearman expert Chip Mapoles installed the radios and other equipment required to operate in Pensacola’s class “C” airspace. The airplane is based at Pensacola Aviation Center at Pensacola International Airport.
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