Someone recently asked me what my all-time favorite airplane (real and RC) was. It was a tough decision and I had to pick between my two all time favs. The Piper J3 Cub and the Stearman PT-17 Kadet biplane. Well, after some soul searching I have decided it has to be the Stearman! I have built several of these great primary trainer biplanes and can’t really fault the design in any way. My first model was the little Stearman PT-17 from Guillows. It was one of many stick and tissue planes I built and it flew pretty good as a U-control model with a Cox .049 engine in it.
The next one I actually helped my father build and it was an RC Stearman built from the old Sterling Models kit! It was powered by an HP .61 rear induction engine and it was guided by a Blue Max radio built from a World Engines electronics kit. Flew pretty good but the wire landing gear did not stand up very well. It was covered with silkspan and dope.
After a long while, I built my first scratch design from a set of plans from Flying Models magazine. It was Nick Ziroli’s PT-17. It had a 53 inch span and was powered by a K&B Torpedo .40 and guided by a Kraft Signature Series Single Stick Radio using KPS 15 servos. I covered it with Super Shrink Coverite and painted it with Rust0lium paint.
After this one I built my all time favorite RC Stearman, again it was a Ziroli design, the 1/5th scale 77 inch version. I covered and painted it with Scale Stits Poly Tone paint over Stits Fabric. I chose a Navy N2S version from an EAA calendar to be a little different. It was actually the first “101” as I gave the documentation to Nick Sr. when he was painting his newer, bigger 88 inch Stearman. My “101” was powered by a Quadra 52 and I guided it with my JR 8103. It had Robart gear struts and I did some rib stitching and panel line detailing. Also had custom graphics made up for it including nomenclature lettering. It flew great!
The next plane I built was a Stearman ARF from Great Planes and it flew very well indeed. It was powered by an OS 1.20 4-stroke and Controlled by a Futaba Super 8. Covered with MonoKote it came as a Navy N2S.
The last one I built and flew is a very nice E-flite electric powered one with Outrunner motor and a 3S Lipo Pack. Of course it is guided by a JR radio with JR servos.
But my all time favorite Stearman has to be “Long Legged Beauty” owned by my good friend Nick Ziroli Jr. He gave me a ride up and down Long Island during the LI skyhawks Warbird Fly In and we had a great time!
Photo by Sal Calvagna.
There have been a few other Stearmans in the lineup but can’t find the photos. What’s your favorite plane? Have you built a Stearman? let me know, I would love to hear your reply/comments.