WWI & WWII Trainer Aircraft
de Haviland DH 82 “Tiger Moth”
The de Havilland DH 82 Tiger Moth is a 1930’s biplane designed by Geoffrey de Haviland and was operated by the Royal Air Force and others as a primary trainer. The Tiger Moth first entered service in 1932 at the RAF Central Flying School.
From the outset, the Tiger Moth proved to be an ideal trainer, simple and cheap to own and maintain, although control movements required a positive and sure hand as there was a slowness to control inputs.
Some instructors preferred these flight characteristics because of the effect of “weeding” out the inept student pilot. remained in service with the RAF until 1952.
Manufacturer: De Havilland
Engine: De Havilland Gipsy Major I inverted 4-cylinder inline
Horsepower: 130 hp
Max Speed: 109 mph @ 1000ft
Weight: 1825 lbs
Empty Weight: 1,115lbs
Ceiling: 13,600 feet
Wing Span: 29′ 4″
Length: 23′ 11″
Height: 8′ 9″
Crew: Two; instructor and student
de Havilland DHC-1 “Chipmunk"
The de Havilland Canada DHC Chipmunk is a two-seat primary trainer fully-aerobatic trainer that was standard for the RAF, RCAF, and several other countries through much of the post-second world war years. First flown in 1946, more than 500 “Chippies” still fly.
The Chipmunk was in the air service of two dozen countries during her decades of service, and the MAM’s Chipmunk is an excellent example. Built in 1952 at the de Havilland factory Broughton it was immediately assigned to RAF College Cranwell. She flew with the RAF until 1957, when she was transferred to the Army Air Corps, where she served for nearly forty years.
MAM acquired the aircraft in 2004.
Country: Canada, England, Portugal and Australia
Manufacturer: de Havilland
Engine: Gipsy Major 10 MKII
Horsepower: 138 hp
Max Speed: 138 mph
Weight: 1425 lbs
Ceiling: 15,800 feet
Wing Span: 34′ 4″
Endurance: 2 hours 40 minutes
Crew: Two; instructor and student
Stearman N2S-3 “Kaydet”
The Stearman (Boeing) Model 75 biplane trainer was built in the 1930’s and 1940’s by the Boeing company. Known as the Stearman, Boeing Stearman, Kaydet, and most appropriately “The Yellow Peril”, it served the Army, Navy and RCAF as a primary or basic trainer throughout WWII.
The Stearman is a remarkably rugged aircraft, having been designed to take the abuse of teaching tens of thousands of pilot recruits to fly.
The unique design of the propeller on the Stearman , the tips of the propeller reach the speed of sound at take-off power settings, making the planes signature “growl” instantly recognizable. The plane served as the PT-13, PT-17, PT-18, and PT-27 and the S2N in various services.
Engine: Continental 7 cylinder radial R-670
Horsepower: 220 hp
Max Speed: 124 mph
Weight: 2635 lbs
Ceiling: 13,200 feet
Wing Span: 32′ 2″
Range: 373 miles
North American T-28D “Trojan”
When the USAF set out to replace the aging North American Texan, the T-28A Trojan was designed, and it’s initial flight was in 1949. Several years later the T-28B was designed for the Navy and Marine Corps. In 1962, in a ground support role, the T-28D carried no less than six under wing hardpoints.
The MAM’s Trojan is a D model which saw service in Zaire, Africa and it is painted to represent a B model in Navy colors. The Navy used the Trojan well into the 1980’s for flight training.
Trojans were used by the U.S. military in Viet Nam and Laos, by Air America in Southeast Asia, and by the CIA in the Belgian Congo. The plane saw service in 27 countries other than the U.S.
Manufacturer: N. American
Engine: Wright R-1820
Horsepower: 1425 hp
Max Speed: 343 mph
Weight: 6,424 / 8,500 lbs
Ceiling: 35,500 feet
Range: 700 miles
Wing Span: 41′ 1″
Height: 12′ 8″
Crew: Two, Instructor and Student
N.A.F. N3N-3 “Canary”
The N3N “Canary” was built in the mid-1930’s as a trainer. It is quite unusual in that it was both designed and built by a U.S. Government entity (the Naval Aircraft Factory in Philadelphia, PA). NAF also procured the rights and tooling for the Wright Series 760 radial engine, and mounted those in their own planes.
The N3N was produced in both land and seaplane versions, the latter with a large single float under the fuselage. The N3N has the distinction of being the last biplane in the service of the U.S. Military.
Manufacturer: Naval Aircraft Factory (US NAVY)
Engine: Wright R 760 Whirlwind Radial
Horsepower: 235 hp
Max Speed:126 mph
Weight: 2,792 lbs
Ceiling: 15,200 feet
Bücker Bü – 133C “Jungmeister”
At the International Aerobatic Championship in Germany in 1936, the 133A showed “astonishing agility”, and by 1938, the C version was the Luftwaffe’s standard advanced trainer.
The Germans were strictly limited in their ability to produce aircraft as a result of the Versailles treaty that ended WWI, and they pushed those restrictions to the limit to prepare the pilots of “sports and aerobatic clubs” that would become the core of the new Luftwaffe in WWII.
The museum’s example was manufactured under license to Switzerland in 1940 for the Swiss Air Force. Unsurprisingly, Swiss craftsmanship reportedly made the Swiss-built Jungmeisters the best built planes, and the Swiss Air Force’s were the best maintained.
Max Speed: 137 mph
Weight: 1290 lbs
Ceiling: 4,500 feet
Focke Wulf “FW-44J”
The Focke Wulf aircraft company in Germany became perhaps the best known during WWII. In 1931, it had just merged with the famous Albatros firm of WWI fame. The Focke Wulf FW-44 (called the “Stieglitz”, or “Goldfinch”) is a 1930’s design for a biplane, two-seat trainer that first flew in 1932.
In the pre-war years, orders from glider and flying clubs, which would be the nucleus of the future Luftwaffe, ordered so many FW-44s that a new factory had to be built just to produce the Stieglitz. It is likely that virtually every German pilot of the period flew this plane at some point.
After many tests and modifications aimed at its durability and aerodynamics, the final FW-44 proved to have excellent airworthiness. The MAM’s example of the FW-44 is the final model of the series (FW-44J).
Manufacturer: Focke Wolfe
Engine: Siemens Sh14
Horsepower: 160 hp
Max Speed: 115 mph
Weight: 1,727 lbs
Ceiling: 12,790 feet
Wing Span: 29′ 6″
Beechcraft T34B “Mentor”
The venerable T-34 was the brainchild of Walter Beech, who developed the plane from his highly successful civilian Model 35 Bonanza.
Needing an updated trainer to replace the ageing North American AT-6/SNJ, Beech offered his new Model 45 to the U.S. military at a time when there was no budget for the development of a new trainer.
Having been updated in several variants since the first flight in 1948, this airframe has trained untold numbers of airmen in more than two dozen countries, and it remains in active service today after more than six decades of faithful service.
Engine: Continental IO-550B
Max Speed: 322 mph
Weight: 4300 lbs
Ceiling: 30,000 feet
Range: 500 miles
Wing Span: 32′ 10″
Length: 25′ 10″
Height: 10′ .25″
Crews: Two, Instructor and student
North American “SNJ-2″
The North American NA-16, designated by the Navy as the SNJ, the Air Corps as the AT-6, and the British as the Harvard, first flew in 1935. This aircraft was the “middle step” in the training of many pilots between their Primary Training and their transition to actual combat aircraft.
This venerable type has flown in many training, liaison, combat, and observation roles in no fewer than 59 countries.
The first model of the AT-6/SNJ going to the Navy resulted in only 16 aircraft, and this model, the second variation with a different engine, only resulted in 61 SNJ-2’s being produced.
Manufacturer: North American Aviation
Engine: Pratt & Whitney R1340-56 Wasp
Horsepower: 550 hp
Max Speed: 205 mph
Weight: 5,300 lbs
Ceiling: 24,200 feet
Range: 700 miles
Wing Span: 42 ft 7 in
Length: 28 ft 6 in
The Army Air Corps had no interest in any gliders until Germany used them successfully as a military weapon in the opening years of WWII.
Based on his 1938 “Yankee Doodle 2” glider, Jack Leisters’ design for the Army Air Corps was accepted for glider training as the TG-4A in 1941. It was a conventional sailplane built of steel tube , wooden wings and tail, and fabric skin.
Laister had to arrange for the manufacturing of the glider as part of the deal, and found a sponsor in businessman John Kaufmann, resulting in the Laister-Kauffman corporation.
The Air Corps would eventually use gliders in many invasion schemes, but discovered that the tactical combat glider (of which 15,000 were built) flew like large trucks with very small wings compared with a 2-place training glider.
Max Speed: 45 mph
Weight: 875 lbs