1997 32¢ Boeing-Stearman Kaydet
Classic American Aircraft
Issue Date: July 19, 1997
City: Dayton, OH
Printed By: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
Most American and Canadian pilots who served in World War I learned to fly on a Curtiss Jenny. Three decades later, the Stearman Kaydet served the same role during World War II. Its military designation was preceeded by a PT, the “P” indicating a pursuit or fighter plane, the “T” indicating that it was a trainer.
The Stearman Kaydet was developed as a two-seat biplane trainer in 1934 by the Stearman Aircraft Company of Wichita, Kansas. Later that year, Boeing purchased the company and entered the Kaydet into the Army Primary Trainer Competition. The Kaydet won and the Army put in an order for several. When war threatened a few years later, the Army purchased additional planes. By the time Boeing stopped production in 1945, it had turned out over 10,000 Kaydets.
The Stearman Kaydet was a throwback to an earlier age of baling wire and fabric biplanes. An excellent introduction to handling large aircraft, the Kaydet was a sturdy plane, withstanding the many mishaps of inexperienced pilots. However, its size and high center of gravity made it prone to ground looping, a flight characteristic difficult to handle. Consequently, the Kaydet was nicknamed the “Washing Machine” because of the number of would-be pilots that got “washed out” of flight training.