Fairchild PT-19A Cornell
One of the Ghost Squadron's PT-19s.
Image source: The Confederate Air Force Ghost Squadron CD-ROM produced by Corel. Photos by Bill Crump.
In 1940, the majority of U.S. Army Air Corps primary trainers were biplanes, such as the Boeing-Stearman PT-13/17 series. However, the Army evaluated the Fairchild M-62 civilian design that same year and ordered 270 as PT-19s.
The original PT-19 version had two open cockpits for the student and instructor and was powered by a Ranger L-440 six-cylinder, inverted, air-cooled inline engine of 175 horsepower.
With the rapid build up of the now Army Air Force in 1941 came massive orders for primary trainers, and Fairchild installed an uprated version of the Ranger engine with 200 horsepower in the PT-19A. This model was also produced by the Aeronca and St. Louis aircraft companies, with over 3,700 built.
The PT-19B was equipped with blind-flying instrumentation and over 900 of this version were produced. A shortage of Ranger engines resulted in the mounting of a Continental R-670 radial engine of 220 horsepower on the basic PT-19 airframe, this model being designated the PT-23. The additional drag of the bulky radial engine versus the smoothly cowled Ranger reduced top speed and climb a bit, but these were not critical in the primary training role.
The final variant of the Fairchild PT series was the PT-26, which added a canopy over the two cockpits and was designed for use in the Commonwealth Air Training Scheme in Canada. The RCAF received 670 PT-26s through Lend-Lease.
In an interesting turn of events, the U.S. Army Air Force ordered 1,057 PT-26A and B models from the Fleet aircraft company in Canada. All versions of the PT-26 used the 200 horsepower Ranger engine.
The CAF Ghost Squadron contains examples of all three major versions of the Fairchild trainer, PT-19, PT-23 and PT-26.
Pilot and Passenger/Instructor
One Ranger L-440-3 Engine
Max. Speed 132 mph @ sea level
Climb to 10,000 ft in 17.5 minutes
Max. Weight 2,545 lbs
Normal Fuel 45 gallons
Normal Range 400 miles
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