American Barnstormers Tour

1943 PT-17 Stearman - N43340

1943 PT-17 Stearman - N43340

Owner/Pilot: Sarah "Pancho" Wilson

In 1943 this Stearman was delivered as a PT-13D to the Army Air Corps at Goodfellow Field in San Angelo, Texas, and assigned to the 2533 Air Base primary training squadron where it remained for the duration of its service career. In February 1948 Stearman Kaydet was transferred from training command to the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) and probably gained US civil registration at that time.

M&M Air Service, a crop dusting company in Beaumont, Texas, attended the Air Force surplus auction at Bryan Field in 1950 where they purchased what was left of the Stearmans with engines and propellors for the remarkable price of $56.56 each. Stearman 43340 began a new career as a cropduster and was converted with spray bars, hoppers, and a Pratt & Whitney 450hp R-985 engine.

In 1970 the aircraft was wrecked and sat in the fields until it was purchased by Pete Jones for Air Repair. The white 111 "buzz" numbers on the side are for the 111th Stearman Air Repair has restored and what a beautiful restoration it is, even today. So beautiful, in fact, that N43340 was chosen to be the 1997 Goodyear Calendar plane.

Stearman 43340's pilot and owner is Sarah Wilson. One of only a handful of women barnstormers, this blonde biplane beauty is not just another "plane Jane." Equipped with a dazzling smile and calm light-hearted demeanor in the cockpit, Sarah makes even the most novice flyer feel at ease. With 15 plus years experience as an instructor and corporate pilot, Sarah owns and operates her own tailwheel training business in Florida. Her skill and daring is unparalleled, possessing the courage to let all passengers actually take the controls and try their hand at flying the legendary Stearman PT-17.

More than 10,000 Stearman Kaydets were produced, making it the best known and perhaps the most admired American biplane. Whether Army trainer, crop duster, or barnstormer, Stearmans are a delight to fly and cherished by all of us who are fortunate enough to own them.