Fairchild PT-19A Cornell

Fairchild PT-19A Cornell

     

During World War II, the Fairchild PT-19 introduced thousands of new pilots to the magic of flight. It was one of the most widely produced U. S. training aircraft. Along with the venerable Boeing-Stearman PT-13/-17 series (also in NASM's collection), the PT-19 was a critical part of the primary flight training (PT) program run by the U. S. Army Air Forces, U. S. Navy, and a number of Allied nations.

Using its own money, Fairchild developed the Model M-62 primary trainer in 1938. Sherman Fairchild deliberately deviated from then-standard practice by selecting a low-wing monoplane configuration versus the traditional biplane layout. He reasoned that once trained, service pilots would fly monoplanes; they ought to start training in the same configuration so they would not have to 'un-learn' the idiosyncrasies of the biplane. Fairchild's aircraft also had a wide-track landing gear that made landings (one of the most difficult aspects of flying) easier for students to master. Because the company had considerable experience with the inline, 6-cylinder, Ranger engine, they selected it to power the trainer.

Transferred from the United States Air Force.

Physical Description:
6-cylinder, Ranger L-440-1 inline, 175 horsepower engine with a wide-track landing gear.

Country of Origin
United States of America

Manufacturer
Fairchild Aircraft Corporation

Date
1943

Type
CRAFT-Aircraft

Dimensions
Overall: 7ft 6 9/16in., 2021.6lb., 27ft 10 5/8in. x 36ft 1 1/16in. (230cm, 917kg, 850 x 1100cm)

During World War II, the Fairchild PT-19 introduced thousands of new pilots to the magic of flight. It was one of the most widely produced U. S. training aircraft. Along with the venerable Boeing-Stearman PT-13/-17 series (also in NASM's collection), the PT-19 was a critical part of the primary flight training (PT) program run by the U. S. Army Air Forces, U. S. Navy, and a number of Allied nations.

Using its own money, Fairchild developed the Model M-62 primary trainer in 1938. Sherman Fairchild deliberately deviated from standard practice by selecting a low-wing monoplane configuration instead of the traditional biplane layout. He reasoned that once trained, service pilots would fly monoplanes; they ought to start training in the same configuration so they would not have to 'un-learn' the idiosyncrasies of the biplane. Fairchild's aircraft also had a wide-track landing gear that made landings (one of the most difficult aspects of flying) easier for students to master. Because the company had considerable experience with the inline, 6-cylinder, Ranger engine, they selected it to power the trainer.

War now loomed on the horizon. Far-sighted Army officers recognized that when the Air Force inevitably expanded, aircrew and maintenance personnel training must become an early priority. The standard flight training syllabus soon evolved into four 10-week phases: (1) Pre-flight training consisted of aptitude testing and instruction in code, maps, physics, aircraft recognition, and many other topics related to military flight. (2) Primary flight training took the fledgling aviator as far as his or her first solo flight in airplanes such as the Ryan PT-19 or Boeing-Stearman. (3) Ten weeks of Basic flight training provided more advanced flying experience in a heavier and more powerful aircraft such as the Vultee BT-13 (see NASM collection) and also involved additional classroom work. (4) Finally, pilots destined for fighters flew the North American AT-6 (see NASM collection). Pilots destined for transport or bomber outfits trained in a twin-engine aircraft such as the Cessna AT-17.

NX18969, Fairchild's prototype, flew for the first time on May 15, 1939. At that time, the aircraft had an enclosed cockpit. With a few refinements and an open cockpit that met Air Corps standards, Fairchild entered his machine into a fly-off competition against 17 other competitors and won. The company received an Army contract on September 22, 1939, for 270 PT-19 aircraft. The airplanes could reach a speed of 206 kph (128 mph) at sea level and fly for about 530 km (330 mi).

Soon, however, airframe production began outstripping the production of Ranger engines. Fairchild modified an M-62 with a 220 horsepower Continental R-670-5 radial engine. This became the PT-23, and 832 were produced. But Fairchild itself was not able to build airframes as fast as the Army needed them. Therefore, Howard Aircraft, Fleet Aircraft, Aeronca, and the St. Louis Airplane Company became subcontractors to produce the trainers.

Canada was a large user of the type, but Canadian flying fields can be cold. Most of the aircraft sent there were PT-19s with enclosed cockpits and 200 horsepower Ranger L-440-3 engines. As the PT-26, these became the backbone of the primary phase of the Commonwealth Air Training Scheme. In fact, by the end of 1944, more allied airman received their primary training in a Fairchild than in any other military trainer.

Fairchild and its partners eventually produced 7,742 of the Cornell series, including several variants for tasks such as instrument training. Besides the US and Canada, the sturdy aircraft were used by Norway, Brazil, Ecuador, and Chile. After the war, most were sold as surplus. Those remaining are now among the favorites of the civilian warbird pilots.

The NASM Cornell is a PT-19A, U. S. Army Air Forces serial number 43-33842. The Army accepted the aircraft in February 1943 and used it at several training bases before it ended up at Greenville, Mississippi, in May 1945. From there it made the trip to Freeman Field, Indiana, as one of the aircraft designated to be stored for the future National Air Museum. On August 9, 1946, the little airplane arrived at the storage facility at Park Ridge, Illinois. The Air Force transferred the airplane to the Smithsonian on June 15, 1960, with just under 452 flight hours logged.

During World War II, the Fairchild PT-19 introduced thousands of new pilots to the magic of flight. It was one of the most widely produced U. S. training aircraft. Along with the venerable Boeing-Stearman PT-13/-17 series (also in NASM's collection), the PT-19 was a critical part of the primary flight training (PT) program run by the U. S. Army Air Forces, U. S. Navy, and a number of Allied nations.

Using its own money, Fairchild developed the Model M-62 primary trainer in 1938. Sherman Fairchild deliberately deviated from then-standard practice by selecting a low-wing monoplane configuration versus the traditional biplane layout. He reasoned that once trained, service pilots would fly monoplanes; they ought to start training in the same configuration so they would not have to 'un-learn' the idiosyncrasies of the biplane. Fairchild's aircraft also had a wide-track landing gear that made landings (one of the most difficult aspects of flying) easier for students to master. Because the company had considerable experience with the inline, 6-cylinder, Ranger engine, they selected it to power the trainer.

Transferred from the United States Air Force.

Physical Description:
6-cylinder, Ranger L-440-1 inline, 175 horsepower engine with a wide-track landing gear.

Country of Origin
United States of America

Manufacturer
Fairchild Aircraft Corporation

Date
1943

Type
CRAFT-Aircraft

Dimensions
Overall: 7ft 6 9/16in., 2021.6lb., 27ft 10 5/8in. x 36ft 1 1/16in. (230cm, 917kg, 850 x 1100cm)

During World War II, the Fairchild PT-19 introduced thousands of new pilots to the magic of flight. It was one of the most widely produced U. S. training aircraft. Along with the venerable Boeing-Stearman PT-13/-17 series (also in NASM's collection), the PT-19 was a critical part of the primary flight training (PT) program run by the U. S. Army Air Forces, U. S. Navy, and a number of Allied nations.

Using its own money, Fairchild developed the Model M-62 primary trainer in 1938. Sherman Fairchild deliberately deviated from standard practice by selecting a low-wing monoplane configuration instead of the traditional biplane layout. He reasoned that once trained, service pilots would fly monoplanes; they ought to start training in the same configuration so they would not have to 'un-learn' the idiosyncrasies of the biplane. Fairchild's aircraft also had a wide-track landing gear that made landings (one of the most difficult aspects of flying) easier for students to master. Because the company had considerable experience with the inline, 6-cylinder, Ranger engine, they selected it to power the trainer.

War now loomed on the horizon. Far-sighted Army officers recognized that when the Air Force inevitably expanded, aircrew and maintenance personnel training must become an early priority. The standard flight training syllabus soon evolved into four 10-week phases: (1) Pre-flight training consisted of aptitude testing and instruction in code, maps, physics, aircraft recognition, and many other topics related to military flight. (2) Primary flight training took the fledgling aviator as far as his or her first solo flight in airplanes such as the Ryan PT-19 or Boeing-Stearman. (3) Ten weeks of Basic flight training provided more advanced flying experience in a heavier and more powerful aircraft such as the Vultee BT-13 (see NASM collection) and also involved additional classroom work. (4) Finally, pilots destined for fighters flew the North American AT-6 (see NASM collection). Pilots destined for transport or bomber outfits trained in a twin-engine aircraft such as the Cessna AT-17.

NX18969, Fairchild's prototype, flew for the first time on May 15, 1939. At that time, the aircraft had an enclosed cockpit. With a few refinements and an open cockpit that met Air Corps standards, Fairchild entered his machine into a fly-off competition against 17 other competitors and won. The company received an Army contract on September 22, 1939, for 270 PT-19 aircraft. The airplanes could reach a speed of 206 kph (128 mph) at sea level and fly for about 530 km (330 mi).

Soon, however, airframe production began outstripping the production of Ranger engines. Fairchild modified an M-62 with a 220 horsepower Continental R-670-5 radial engine. This became the PT-23, and 832 were produced. But Fairchild itself was not able to build airframes as fast as the Army needed them. Therefore, Howard Aircraft, Fleet Aircraft, Aeronca, and the St. Louis Airplane Company became subcontractors to produce the trainers.

Canada was a large user of the type, but Canadian flying fields can be cold. Most of the aircraft sent there were PT-19s with enclosed cockpits and 200 horsepower Ranger L-440-3 engines. As the PT-26, these became the backbone of the primary phase of the Commonwealth Air Training Scheme. In fact, by the end of 1944, more allied airman received their primary training in a Fairchild than in any other military trainer.

Fairchild and its partners eventually produced 7,742 of the Cornell series, including several variants for tasks such as instrument training. Besides the US and Canada, the sturdy aircraft were used by Norway, Brazil, Ecuador, and Chile. After the war, most were sold as surplus. Those remaining are now among the favorites of the civilian warbird pilots.

The NASM Cornell is a PT-19A, U. S. Army Air Forces serial number 43-33842. The Army accepted the aircraft in February 1943 and used it at several training bases before it ended up at Greenville, Mississippi, in May 1945. From there it made the trip to Freeman Field, Indiana, as one of the aircraft designated to be stored for the future National Air Museum. On August 9, 1946, the little airplane arrived at the storage facility at Park Ridge, Illinois. The Air Force transferred the airplane to the Smithsonian on June 15, 1960, with just under 452 flight hours logged.

ID: A19600290000