Vultee SNV-1 (BT-13) Valiant

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. The pilots nicknamed it the "Vultee Vibrator," as the canopy rattled so much during aerobatic maneuvers.



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Specifications

Manufacturer: Vultee
Year/Model: 1941 SNV-1 / BT-13
S/N: 156719
Tail Number: 6739
Power Plant: 450hp Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN-1
Wingspan: 42 feet 2 inches
Length: 28 feet 10 inches
Height: 11 feet 6 inches
Gross Weight: 4,496 pounds
Maximum Speed: 180 mph
Maximum Range: 725 statute miles
Service Ceiling: 21,650
Crew: 1
Status: Privately Owned/ Operational, On Loan*
Owner: Gary Corippo, Randy Reber, Scott Stelzle

*Aircraft listed "On Loan" are privately owned by individuals or corporations and are proudly displayed at the Estrella Warbird Museum. The Estrella WarBirds Museum does not own, restore, operate nor maintain flyable aircraft. We are grateful that the owners display their aircraft at the museum for the public to view. Any courtesy rides given by aircraft owners is an agreement solely between the person that owns the aircraft and passenger.

SNV-1 In Flight

History

Regarded as the most attractive of the low-wing trainers of World War 2, this series produced by Vultee from 1940 to 1944 far out-numbered all other basic trainers, and was used in this capacity by all services to transition fledgling aviators into higher horsepower ships.

Developed as a private speculative venture by Vultee as their Model 54, Army acceptance came in September 1939 of one prototype BC-3, a higher horsepower version with retractable gear. After service trials, an initial contract was placed for 300 planes with fixed gear to be designated BT-13A Valiant. This was followed by more contracts as the ship proved to be ideally suited for its role, with a total production of 6,407. Also built were 1,125 BT-13Bs with a 24-volt electrical system.

The Navy quickly recognized the ruggedness of the BT-13 and selected it to fulfill the same training roles. A total of 1,350 BT-13A and 650 BT-13B aircraft were transferred to the US Navy which designated them SNV-1 and SNV-2B respectively.

Developed as a private speculative venture by Vultee as their Model 54, Army acceptance came in September 1939 of one prototype BC-3, a higher horsepower version with retractable gear. After service trials, an initial contract was placed for 300 planes with fixed gear to be designated BT-13A Valiant. This was followed by more contracts as the ship proved to be ideally suited for its role, with a total production of 6,407. Also built were 1,125 BT-13Bs with a 24-volt electrical system.

Roomy, relatively docile, and dependable, the Valiant soon acquired the popular nickname by its pilots of "Vibrator" for its maverick actions in stall buffeting. Fully aerobatic, heavy- handed cadets quickly learned more judicous and sensitive use of the controls, and made their transition into Advanced trainers much easier. Well regarded for its physical integrity, there were no recorded in-flight structural failures — which is quite remarkable considering its use.

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