The Last of the Breed – Mike Porter’s Atomic Stearman

WARBIRD RADIO – Atomic Stearman?  Yes, believe it or not, around fifty Stearman biplanes were still flying in the United States Air Force at the beginning of the atomic age.  It wasn’t until 1949 the newly minted United States Air Force, retired the last of it’s famous biplane trainers.  Stearman artisan, Mike Porter is completing his latest restoration,  Stearman 42-17720.  The buzz number is TF-720.  What, “TF”?  According to Mr. Porter, the “TF” designation comes from same USAF Technical Order that standardized the red stripe inside the national insignia.  Porter added, this was in the age when a Mustang was listed in the “P”, or pursuit category.  “T” was training in this case and the “F” was specific for the PT-13.  Mike says “TA” would have been the buzz number for an AT-6 and “TG” would have been the designator for a PT-17.  How’s that for a little unique history?

Stearman 720 will be like no Stearman flying today, this unique aircraft will be restored to the 1949 USAF specifications, making it a true “atomic” age biplane.  Texas folks should pay close attention to 720, as she served her entire military career in the great republic.  To call 720 the Yellow Rose of Texas, would be fitting for her history.  Her military career began at Goodfellow Field outside San Angelo, then she bounced around the Lone Star state until she was placed in storage at Pyote Field.  Her final few days in service were alongside legends like the Enola Gay, Memphis Belle and many more including the CAF’s B-17 “Sentimental Journey”.  Mike says the story deepens here, 720 left Pyote when American Duster Company purchased her, along with forty-nine other Stearmans (they bought all fifty of the last birds).  The new duster fleet was reassembled and flown off a dirt road, across from Interstate-20.  It was from that dirt road they began their new lives with big engines, spraying crops in Idaho.  Stearman 720 disappeared from the registry in 1970 and hasn’t flown since.   It’s twist in history and lack of flying has helped to preserve it as a real time capsule.  Today, 720 is nearly complete and its list of rare and wonderful original equipment is still growing.

For the warbird purest out there, 720 will fast become their favorite Stearman, here’s why:

  • Original instruments and panel layout
  • Original vacuum tube intercom and battery
  • Original right hand Co2 fire extinguisher
  • Original inertial starter
  • Original electrical boxes (mounted correctly – up front)
  • Original map cases
  • Original wooden seats, wooden control sticks and metal floor boards
  • Stock Hayes wheels and brakes (1/500 sets made)
  • Freshly overhauled engine
  • New wood
  • New hardware – epoxy painted
  • Covered with Ceconite and Airtech Coatings 

Bonus:  According to engineer drawings (see image in gallery) the last few Stearmans were equipment with passing lights on the upper left wing.  Mike is considering installing one after a little more research – neat!

When asked how many of the last 50 were flying, Mike wasn’t sure.  He knows of a few that are still airworthy and operating; however, he points out with a smile, 720 will be the only one flying with a period correct restoration.  The historical significance of the last Stearman biplanes can’t be overlooked.  As the USAF was transitioning from props to jets and conventional weapons to atomic,  a handful of vintage biplanes were still in active service.  Stearman 720 is the last of the breed, and will soon fly again as a reminder of just how far we’ve come. 

Expected completion:  Summer of 2017 / EAA’s AirVenture is already on the list of planned visits.

Offers for purchase will be considered:  info@warbirdradio.com

PHOTO GALLERY:

Warbird Radio LIVE! – Safety Month Kickoff with Mike Porter – Episode 592

MIKEKEYIMAGEWARBIRD RADIO – Mike Porter (CFI, II, MEI / A&P, IA, Rigger) and Matt share a candid conversation about flying after winter maintenance.  Every March we focus our attention on safety and share ideas to help improve the overall culture of safe aircraft operation.  Also on this episode the guys from the Warrior Flight Team stop by to talk about a major announcement within the team.

Your calls and comments are always welcome.  Thanks for tuning in.

SHOWTIME 8pm ET – 3/8/2016 – Podcast will follow immediately

QUICK LINK:  Mike Porter

QUICK LINK:  Warrior Flight Team

STUDIO LINE: 478-787-4768

SKYPE: warbirdradio

 

Air Raid Radio AirVenture 2015 Edition – The WASP Story – Episode 2

WARBIRD RADIO – Kara and Amy are back with a new show LIVE from AirVenture 2015.  On this episode, the ladies are joined by WASP pilot Elizabeth “Betty” Wall Strohfus and newly minted Stearman aviator (and air racer) Kayleigh Bordner. Tune in and learn the story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) and find out how the next generation of female aviators are continuing in their footsteps.

Visit the links below for more information on Kara and Amy.  Thanks for tuning in!

QUICK LINK:  Beyond The Powder (Kara’s new movie)

QUICK LINK:  Spot Light Business Solutions

Warbird Radio LIVE! – Safety Month’s Maintenance & Restoration – 3/10/15 – 8pm ET

MerlinMaintenanceWARBIRD RADIO – As winter draws to a close aircraft are coming out of maintenance and preparing to fly.  Learn a few tips for a safe transition back to the air on tonight’s Warbird Radio LIVE!  Restoration and maintenance experts Scott Yoak and Mike Porter join Matt Jolley during a special Safety Month edition of WRL.

Scott Yoak is one of the premiere P-51 Mustang demonstration pilots in North America and Mike Porter is known the world over for his Stearman biplane restoration and flying (another added benefit – both men are Certified Flight Instructors).  Practical advice for a safe flying season, maintenance tips and tricks and your calls and questions are all scheduled for Tuesday evening’s broadcast.

The guys from Warbirds News will also join the show with a look at this week’s headlines.  Show time is 8pm (EASTERN) right here on WarbirdRadio.com.  Thanks for tuning in!

STUDIO LINE:  478-787-4768

SKYPE: warbirdradio

EMAIL:  info@warbirdradio.com

QUICK LINK:  Scott Yoak’s Website

QUICK LINK:  Mike Porter’s Contact

QUICK LINK:  Warbirds News

 

Warbird Restoration & Maintenance Experts Team Up For Safety Month

scooterandmikeWARBIRD RADIO – We’re excited to announce warbird restoration and maintenance experts Scott Yoak and Mike Porter are teaming up for Safety Month here on Warbird Radio.  Both men not only restore and maintain vintage military airplanes, they also fly them.

Scott Yoak is one of the premiere P-51 Mustang demonstration pilots in North America and Mike Porter is known the world over for his Stearman biplane restoration and flying (another added benefit – both men are Certified Flight Instructors).  Practical advice for a safe flying season, maintenance tips and tricks and your calls and questions are all scheduled for Tuesday evening’s broadcast.

Join us at 8pm (EASTERN) 3/10/15 right here on WarbirdRadio.com.  Thanks for tuning in!

QUICK LINK:  Scott Yoak’s Website

QUICK LINK:  Mike Porter’s Contact

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