Miss Muffet may seem like an unlikely name for a proud biplane,
but if you listen to the MacMahans a bit, the name makes perfect
sense. The owners of a beautiful blue and red 1941 Boeing A75N1
(PT17) Stearman, the two seat trainer bipe is powered by a Lycoming
R680-4P-B4 and has received lavish care over the years from the
MacMahan family. Back for its second year since a complete
restoration, the proud Boeing Stearman drew admiring glances from
thousands of pilots who came upon it... and devoutly wished for one
just like it.
While most folks know the Boeing Model 75 by the common name of
"Stearman," it has worn a number of hats and been called a lot of
names... (and a few of those weren't nice ones, if you learned to
fly taildraggers in this bird). The US Army Air Corps designation
for the A75N1 is "PT-17," the Navy designation is "N2S," and the
Canadian military designation is "Kaydet." The Stearman was
originally designed to serve as a trainer, and many a WWII flyer
got their start in the open cockpit of this amazing aircraft. After
the war, a number of Stearmans found their way into civilian use as
barnstormers and crop dusters.
Boeing notes that the two-seater biplane was introduced by the
Stearman Aircraft Division of Boeing in Wichita, Kan., in 1934 and
conducted it first flight on November 26th of that year. The A75
has fabric-covered wooden wings, single-leg landing gear and an
over-built welded-steel fuselage. Only radial engines were used.
Between 1936 and 1944, Boeing built 8,584 of them, in all versions,
plus the equivalent of 2,000 more in spares. In addition to sales
to the Navy and the Army Air Corps, the trainers were sold to
Canada, China, the Philippines, Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil for
both military and civilian uses.
The A75 (according to Janes, though different sources spec the
bird in subtly different ways), has a wing span of 32 feet, 2
inches, a length of Length: 24 feet, 10 inches and its
Continental R-670 radial engine pulls 220 hp. The Stearman has an
average empty weight of 1,936 lbs, a gross weight of 2,717 lbs, a
range of 505 miles and a top speed of 124 mph. The Stearman cruises
at a whopping 106 mph and has a service ceiling of 11,200 feet.
Firebreathing, they weren't, but the bird has fun written all over
it and the hundreds still in civilian hands are ample testimony of
the birds great flying characteristics.