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Fairchild PT-23 Cornell

In the late 1930s, an argument was put forth that the transition from biplanes to monoplanes presented too great a leap for novice pilots as they advanced in competency. Biplane trainers were relatively easy to fly, giving the trainee a false sense of security. If the pilot was going to fly monoplane fighters, he should be trained in the more demanding monoplane from beginning to end. Therefore, in 1939 the USAAC evaluated the Fairchild Model 62 for use as a new monoplane trainer. It featured the same speed, climb and ceiling, as the Stearman PT-13 biplane, but a higher stall speed and therefore more critical low-speed handling characteristics.

The plane was introduced to cadets in 1940, and rapidly accepted. Fairchild doubled factory capacity to keep up with demand, and the plane was license built by several other companies. It featured a light steel-alloy frame with cloth covered wings and fuselage. The tandem cockpits were open. A total of 869 PT-23s were produced until the model was discontinued in 1944.

The plane uses 3.35 gallons of aviation fuel per hour at routine usage. It had a historical range of 370 miles. A full load of fuel costs $9.


Fairchild PT-23 (Model 62)

Subassemblies: Light Fighter chassis +3; Light Fighter wings +2; 3 fixed wheels +0.

Powertrain: 164-kW HP gasoline engine with 164-kW prop and 45-gallon standard fuel tanks [Wings]; 4,000-kWs battery.

Occ.: 2 XCS Body

Cargo: 0 Body


Armor F RL B T U

Body: 2/2C 2/2C 2/2C 2/2C 2/2C

Wings: 1/2C 1/2C 1/2C 1/2C 1/2C

Wheels: 2/3 2/3 2/3 2/3 2/3



Body: Backup driver option, autopilot, navigation instruments, medium radio transmitter and receiver.



Size: 26'x37'x7.5' Payload: 0.35 tons Lwt.: 1.37 tons

Volume: 144 Maint.: 93 hours Cost: $9,430

HT: 12. HPs: 100 Body, 70 each Wing, 5 each Wheel.

aSpeed: 131 aAccel: 4 aDecel: 18 aMR: 4.5 aSR: 1

Stall Speed: 54 mph. Take Off Run: 324 yards. Landing Run: 292 yards.

gSpeed: 175 gAccel: 9 gDecel: 10 gMR: 0.5 gSR: 1

Ground Pressure: Very High. 1/8 Off-Road Speed.


Design Notes:

Historical wing area was 200 sf. A larger chassis was used than was needed to increase design weight; the cost, weight and HPs of the chassis were also doubled. Despite this, design loaded weight was only 2,586 lbs. and was increased 6% to the historical. Most of the extra VSPs, therefore, should be considered waste space.

Design aSpeed was 138 mph; design stall speed was 50 mph. The historical values are shown. Historical values for wing area and loaded weight were used for all performance calculations. The design cost of $4,611.20 was used to calculate the maintenance interval. The historical price for a new plane is shown. After the war, used planes could be purchased as surplus for as little as $500.



The PT-19 was the first version, which featured a 130-kW engine. 270 built.

The PT-19A featured minor refinements, and had a top speed of 125 mph. 3,658 built. The -B featured improved instrumentation for blind-flying and a hood for the pupil's cockpit. 887 built.

The PT-26 Mk I was a Canadian-built version, which featured a single canopy over both cockpits, heating for the crew, and improved instrumentation. Top speed 126 mph. 1,727 built. The PT-26A Mk II featured a 149-kW engine. 807 built. The PT-26B Mk III was virtually identical to the Mk II. 250 built.


From the Aerodrome for GURPS

2008 by Jim Antonicic