History Takes Flight

With a collection of more than 200 historic aircraft, the EAA Aviation Museum is a year-round destination, combining aviation's past with the promise of its exciting future.

1943 Boeing/Hughes Super Stearman - N121R (N5051V)

Location: Air Racing & Aerobatics


View Virtual Tour of Cockpit


This Super Stearman evolved from the hands and mind of legendary air show pilot Joe Hughes. He wanted something even better than the standard 450-hp air show Stearman, especially for movie work. The first Super Stearman, N21R, was built up and gradually refined by a host of engineering changes to meet the parameters set by Hughes. Once all the bugs were worked out, the decision was made to build a second Super Stearman from the ground up using the lessons learned from the first aircraft.

Beginning with a new Stearman airframe, work started on the second aircraft in January 1977. Hughes worked with mechanic Marty Corcoran and engineer Floyd Perry to build this airplane in time for the air show season. Surprisingly, the basic Stearman airframe is close to stock, with an extra landing wire between the wings being the only addition. The engine, a Pratt & Whitney R-1340-AN-1, was tested at up to 850 hp, but it was limited to 650 hp for normal air show work.

The completed Super Stearman (N5051V) was rolled out on May 6, 1977, just four months after work started.

Length: 24 feet, 10 inches

Wingspan: 32 feet, 2 inches

Empty Weight: 3,285 pounds

Gross Weight: 5,500 pounds

Cruise Speed: 150-190 mph

Maximum Speed: 330 mph

Seats: 2

Powerplant: Pratt & Whitney R-1340-AN-1

Horsepower: 650 hp