Great Planes PT-19: A Historic WWII Trainer Aircraft

Great Planes PT-19: A Historic WWII Trainer Aircraft

The Great Planes PT-19 is a historic aircraft that served as a military trainer during World War II. It was primarily used to prepare pilots for more advanced fighter planes, such as the P-51 Mustang. The PT-19 was designed with a distinctive open cockpit that allowed for greater visibility during flight, as well as a fixed landing gear and radial engine. Its impressive specifications included a max speed of 124 mph and a range of 505 miles. Despite being retired from military service, the PT-19 has remained a beloved aircraft among hobbyists and aviation enthusiasts.

Design and Features

  • The PT-19 was produced in a variety of models, with slightly different variations in features such as engines and wing size.
  • The aircraft’s open cockpit design allowed for excellent visibility during flight, aiding in pilot training.
  • The fixed landing gear made the PT-19 simpler to maintain and operate than aircraft with retractable gear.
  • The PT-19’s radial engine provided sufficient power for a trainer plane.
  • The PT-19 also served as a reliable and sturdy aircraft for its pilots, with a reputation for being forgiving of inexperienced maneuvers.

What variations in features did the PT-19 have in different models?

The PT-19 had variations in features such as engine types, propellers, radio equipment, and canopy designs across different models.

Operational Use

  • The PT-19 was primarily used as a trainer aircraft during World War II, with over 7,000 units produced for the United States Army Air Forces, United States Navy, and other Allied countries.
  • Pilots experienced initial training in other planes before moving up to the PT-19, and then onto more advanced aircraft such as the P-47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang.
  • The PT-19 was considered to be a difficult plane to fly initially, with its unique handling and responsiveness requiring pilots to develop new skills to fly it effectively.
  • After the war, the PT-19 continued to be used as a trainer aircraft by countries such as Canada and Brazil, and even found use in aerial surveying and crop dusting.
Specifications PT-19
Crew 2 (instructor and trainee)
Length 28 ft 8 in
Wingspan 36 ft 0 in
Empty Weight 2,253 lb
Max Speed 124 mph
Range 505 miles

What countries continued to use the PT-19 as a trainer aircraft after World War II?

Several countries continued to use the PT-19 as a trainer aircraft after World War II, including Brazil, Chile and Colombia.

PT-19 in Popular Culture

  • The PT-19 has made numerous appearances in popular culture, particularly in films that depict World War II-era aviation or that feature flying scenes.
  • In the 2001 film Pearl Harbor, several PT-19s were used to depict training flights for the main characters, while the 2012 film Red Tails prominently featured the aircraft in several scenes.
  • The PT-19 has also been recreated in numerous video games, such as the Microsoft Flight Simulator series and the IL-2 Sturmovik series.
  • For aviation enthusiasts, the PT-19 is a popular model plane to build and fly, with many kits and models available online and in hobby stores.
  • The Commemorative Air Force, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving historic aircraft, owns and operates several PT-19s as part of its fleet.

What video games have featured the PT-19 aircraft?

Microsoft Flight Simulator X, IL-2 Sturmovik: Great Battles, and Flying Tigers: Shadows Over China have featured the PT-19 aircraft.

Contemporary PT-19s

Today, many PT-19s still exist and are in use, though they are primarily owned by private collectors or aviation organizations. The Commemorative Air Force, mentioned in the previous paragraph, operates several PT-19s as part of its fleet, which are used for airshows and public events. While the PT-19 is no longer in use as a military trainer aircraft, its legacy lives on through the many preserved and restored examples that can still be seen flying today.

Numerous organizations and individuals have undertaken efforts to restore and maintain PT-19s, which can be a challenging process due to the age and sometimes scarce availability of parts. Some have even modified the aircraft with modern equipment to improve their performance or make them more suitable for civilian use. For example, some PT-19s have been fitted with GPS navigation systems or radios for use in air races or other aviation events.

Overall, the PT-19 remains a beloved and iconic aircraft, both for its significance in military aviation history and its enduring appeal among aviation and model airplane enthusiasts. It has played an important role in popular culture, been the subject of many books and documentaries, and has inspired countless individuals to pursue careers in aviation. The PT-19 will undoubtedly continue to fascinate and captivate aviation enthusiasts of all ages for many years to come.