Referred to as the “Cradle of Heroes,” the Fairchild PT-19 (PT designating Primary Trainer) played a very important role during the Second World War. It was one of a handful of primary trainer designs that was the first stop on a cadet’s way to becoming a combat pilot. Thousands of the PT-19 series were rapidly integrated into the US and Commonwealth training programs, serving throughout World War II and beyond. Even after their retirement in the late 1940s, a substantial number found their way onto the US civil register. The Fairchild PT-19 was designed as a replacement for the PT-17 biplane primary trainer (the Stearman). This aircraft offered flight characteristics more similar to the combat aircraft those aspiring pilots would later fly during the war. Equipped with an inverted inline 6 cylinder Ranger engine with 175 horsepower, the aircraft had other modern design features like a very wide track landing gear with long suspension travel. In its role as a primary trainer, it performed very well, so that by 1945 production halted with about 8,000 aircraft completed. Variants included the radial engine equipped PT-23 and the PT-26 instrument trainer with an enclosed canopy. The British Royal Air Force and Royal Canadian Air Force also had models of this type.
This PT-19, N323CJ was built in 1943 and went through a full 11 year restoration that included an upgrade to the 200HP Ranger engine and an electrical system. This PT-19 is one of only 98 left in airworthy status; don’t hesitate – take your flight in a piece of history!