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Stearman Flown by George H.W. Bush Restored in Time for Oshkosh

  • Stearman Flown by George H.W. Bush Restored in Time for Oshkosh
    AirCorps Aviation’s newly restored Stearman on the ramp and ready for takeoff.
  • Stearman Flown by George H.W. Bush Restored in Time for Oshkosh
    A hand crank starter is but one of the authentic finishes making this Stearman special.
  • Stearman Flown by George H.W. Bush Restored in Time for Oshkosh
    At age 18, Cadet George H.W. Bush was the youngest pilot in the Navy in 1943.

July 15, 2015 - Another airplane of historic significance will be making its way to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 from AirCorps Aviation in Bemidji, Minnesota. In addition to the restored combat veteran P-51 Mustang, Sierra Sue II, AirCorps will bring a newly restored Boeing-Stearman N2S-1 once flown by George H.W. Bush when he was a Navy cadet pilot.

January 28, 1943, was a typical Minnesota mid-winter day when Bush, the youngest aviation cadet in the Navy at age 18, walked out to the yellow biplane trainer on the ramp at Wold-Chamberlain Naval Air Station in Minneapolis. The mercury hovered at 16℉ as the young cadet and future 41st president of the United States climbed into the rear cockpit for his ninth solo flight of the month. 

He was up for 1.3 hours according to his log. That’s roughly an hour and 20 minutes in an open cockpit biplane in the frigid Minnesota winter, but that was an everyday occurrence in primary flight training at Wold-Chamberlain.

The Stearman, BuAer 3347, was accepted by the Navy on January 26, 1941. On April 26, 1945 BuAer 3347 was purchased by J.O. Dockery from the Defense Plant Corporation for use as a duster and registered as N50061. Modified with a hopper and a Pratt & Whitney R-985 engine, she served many years as a flying farm implement. The plane’s FAA registration was cancelled in 1965.

Purchased in 1972 by Robert Hood of Carthage, Missouri, it was reregistered with the FAA. In 2011, Bary Sima of Salome, Arizona, bought the Stearman and ultimately Wings of the North Museum at Flying Cloud Field, Eden Prairie, Minnesota, acquired the plane and turned her over to AirCorps Aviation for restoration.

The aircraft is now once again in factory condition, with only a hand crank starter and other authentic finishes - right down to the water transfer decals used in 1941. This will truly be another must-see aircraft in Oshkosh with an exciting history, accurately and authentically restored.

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