Vultee BT-13 Valiant

Yearly general maintenance and inspection on the Vultee BT-13 Valiant in Lexington, KY

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History of the Vultee BT-13 Valiant

The Vultee BT-13 Valiant was an American World War II-era basic trainer aircraft built by Vultee Aircraft for the United States Army Air Corps, and later US Army Air Forces. A subsequent variant of the BT-13 in USAAC/USAAF service was known as the BT-15 Valiant, while an identical version for the US Navy was known as the SNV and was used to train naval aviators for the US Navy and its sister services, the US Marine Corps and US Coast Guard.

The Vultee BT-13 was the basic trainer flown by most American pilots during World War II. It was the second phase of the three phase training program for pilots. After primary training in PT-13, PT-17, or PT-19 trainers, the student pilot moved to the more complex Vultee for continued flight training. The BT-13 had a more powerful engine and was faster and heavier than the primary trainer. It required the student pilot to use two way radio communications with the ground and to operate landing flaps and a two-position Hamilton Standard controllable pitch propeller. It did not, however, have retractable landing gear nor a hydraulic system. The flaps were operated by a crank-and-cable system. Its pilots nicknamed it the "Vultee Vibrator."

Due to the demand for this aircraft, and others which used the same Pratt & Whitney engine, some were equipped with Wright powerplants of similar size and power built in 1941-42. The Wright-equipped aircraft were designated BT-15. The Navy adopted the P&W powered aircraft as their main basic trainer, designating it the SNV. The BT-13 production run outnumbered all other Basic Trainer (BT) types produced.

After World War II, virtually all were sold as surplus for a few hundred dollars each. Many were purchased just to obtain their engines, which were mounted on surplus biplanes (such as Stearmans) to replace their less powerful engines for use as cropdusters. The BT airframes were then scrapped. Today, some "BT's" (collectively, BT-13s, BT-15s and SNVs) are still flying, though in very limited numbers.

Vultee BT-13 Specifications

Crew...................
Wingspan...........
Length................
Height.................
Max Gross Wt....
Empty Wt............
2
42 ft 0 in
28 ft 10 in
11 ft 6 in
4,496 lb
3,375 lb
Powerplant.........
Horsepower.......
Max Speed.........
Range.................
Service Ceiling..
Rate Of Climb.....
1 ├Ś P&W R-985
450 hp
180 mph
725 miles
21,650 ft
1,086 ft/min

(Historical Information from Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 22 July 2004)