ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Boeing Stearman Bi-plane - Reliving the Past on a Summer Day

Updated on November 5, 2011

I have always been an aviation buff. My interest in the airplanes goes way back to the Apollo space program years. I was just 7 years old when we landed on the moon. I remember it well, and like all young kids of that era, I was really into anything to do with airplanes and spaceships.

I wanted to be a pilot, of course, without realizing the incredible amount of work it takes to become one. So I got into music instead.

I held onto my interest in aviation, which was shared by my father-in-law. He surprised both my wife and I with gift certificates for a ride in a World War Two training airplane. The plane, a Stearman PT-17, was located at the Planes of Fame museum, which was then based at Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. This museum, a private collection, is now based in San Diego.

On a pleasant summer day, we took to the skies in a Stearman!

Flying over Lake Minnetonka in the Stearman
Flying over Lake Minnetonka in the Stearman | Source
Stearmans during WW2 being used for flight training
Stearmans during WW2 being used for flight training
A Stearman at the Flying Cloud Airport airshow
A Stearman at the Flying Cloud Airport airshow

The Stearman, made by Boeing, is a 2-seat bi-plane used for military flight training. There were 9,783 Stearmans built in Witicha, Kansas from 1934 to 1945. It was the best known bi-plane in aviation history and used extensively to train the pilots that went to fight World War Two. They graced the skies at training fields all over America.

After the war, thousands of leftover airplanes were sold off as surplus to pilots around the world. Its rugged construction and ability to fly low made it ideal for crop dusting. Over time, many of the airplanes were converted from fabric covering to metal, and redesigned with more powerful radial engines. These planes are no longer used for crop dusting and are used mostly for recreation. There are many on static display which no longer fly.

Canada, China, Philippines, Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil bought many of the Stearmans in the post-war years. They were used as trainers, crop dusters, and delivery planes, among other uses. Many were still in military use up into the 1990s.

There are hundreds of Stearmans still flying at air shows, museums, or in private pilots' hangers, waiting for a sunny day to take to the skies.

My ride was very memorable. The pilot was a commercial pilot for Northwest Airlines, who just liked to spend his time off flying old planes. The flight took us over the western and southern parts of the Minneapolis area, where we simulated an emergency landing and did a few very tight turns with the plane on its side. I even got to spend a few minutes at the controls.

I highly recommend taking a ride in one of these vintage airplanes. The feeling of air blowing across your face and being in the open cockpit on a nice summer day was incredible. You will find rides available at many airports around the country, with eager pilots waiting to take you on a ride into the past.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: ""

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)