Kevin Maher has over 24000 flying hours in 130 different types of aircraft, but this lovely Stearman is one of his favourites.
Boeing Model 75 “Stearman”
- Boeing built nearly 10 000 of these airplanes between 1936 and 1945, at one point turning out 6 per day.
- Built as a primary trainer and aerobatic trainer for the US Army Air Force and US Navy during WWII. The RCAF also operated 300 of the type in 1943. This airplane was built in 1943 and was stationed at a Naval Air Station in Memphis Tennessee. It trained over 50 pilots who went on to fly fighters in the South pacific.
- In 1946 it was sold for $600 and converted to a “crop duster” with the more powerful Pratt and Whitney R-985 engine was installed.
- The loud crack you hear as the airplane passes beside you is the sound of the tips of the 9’ diameter propeller breaking the sound barrier.
- In 1995 it was converted back to the original 2 seat configuration and painted historically accurately as an RCAF aircraft that was stationed in Fort Mcleod Alberta.
- The aircraft is owned and maintained by Trevor Skillen, who enjoys displaying his historic RCAF aircraft for the public to enjoy.
- Unlike many aerobatic Stearman’s, this aircraft has no inverted fuel system and only the 2 stock ailerons. The engine will not run under negative G which requires Kevin to maintain positive G loading on the aircraft during all his maneuvers.
- Modern aerobatic aircraft can perform a roll in less than one second with fingertip pressures on the controls. This airplane takes 6 seconds to do a complete roll and the control forces are so heavy that sometimes Kevin has to grab the stick with both hands. The military did not want a trainer that was easy to fly!
- Kevin Maher grew up in Ladner BC and now lives in Cowichan Bay. He had a pilot’s license before he got his driver’s license and because of this he used to have to ride his bike to the airport for flying lessons.
- He spent 5 summers flying agricultural airplanes or “crop dusters” while studying engineering at UBC. Kevin will end his display with a demonstration of a crop dusting pass and turnaround. Somedays he used to make nearly 400 of these turns with a heavily loaded airplane in a single day!
- Kevin then went on to fly bush planes, air tankers, air ambulance, air cargo, and commuter airliners. His day job now is flying a Boeing 777 airliner, but his real passion is flying vintage and historic aircraft.
- He has over 24 000 flying hours in over 130 different types of aircraft.
- One of his very favorite types to fly is the Stearman – partly because it is such a beautiful and historic airplane, and partly because it is very similar to the biplanes he used to fly when crop spraying.
- Kevin enjoys the aerobatics in the Stearman because it is the best way to explore and demonstrate the flight envelope of the airplane – in much the same way the WWII cadets were expected master the airplane before moving on to more advanced fighter planes.
- Kevin will have the airplane on display after he lands for everyone to have a closer look at or to ask any questions. He would especially like to talk to any young people interested in a career in aviation, science, or engineering.