photo by mckinley siegfried
vicky benzing aerosports © 2015 | All Rights Reserved
1940 boeing stearman
Vicky’s beautiful Stearman was manufactured in 1940 by the Boeing Aircraft Company for use as a military trainer in WWII.
In February of 1946 after the war ended, this airplane was sold from the War Assets Administration for $770.
The airplane’s new owner fitted it with a 450HP Pratt & Whitney R985 engine and converted it to a crop duster where it was used for spraying operations in California’s Sacramento Valley until 1973 when it was disassembled and stored in boxes in an old hangar.
In 1990, the airplane was taken out of storage and restored by Stadel Aircraft based in Yuba City California. It was converted back from a restricted category crop duster to a standard acrobatic category aircraft.
Vicky purchased the airplane in 1998 and she bases it at the Pine Mountain Lake Airport near Yosemite California. Vicky loves to fly the airplane at air shows demonstrating the grace and beauty of flight in this early trainer.
Except for the engine and a smoke system, Vicky’s Stearman remains as originally built 75 years ago.
Vicky’s Stearman has two ailerons instead of four ailerons like most Stearman that are flown in airshows. Hence it takes 2 hands on the stick and a lot of muscle for Vicky to roll it - and it rolls very slowwwwly. Vicky is fond of saying that “the top wing wants to go straight while the bottom wing wants to roll.”
Vicky’s Stearman also doesn’t have an inverted fuel system, so her engine WILL quit if Vicky holds the airplane upside down. Vicky has learned to keep positive g’s on her Stearman at all times, just as the WWII pilots would have done. Vicky considers herself lucky to be a steward of this timeless piece of history.