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Museum's PT-13D restoration selected for Air Force Heritage Award

  • Published
  • By Sarah Swan
  • National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force was recently selected by the U.S. Air Force History and Museums Program as a recipient of the 2015 Air Force Heritage Award for the restoration of the Stearman PT-13D Kaydet trainer.

The award recognizes outstanding achievements by Air Force History and Museums personnel that foster a better understanding and appreciation of the Air Force, its history and accomplishments.

Placed on display in the World War II Gallery last August, the museum's PT-13D is a highly-accurate, pristine example of one of the most used trainers during WWII. The aircraft is part of an expanded Tuskegee Airmen exhibit, which opened in February.

This aircraft (serial number 42-17800) was the 63rd from the last one built and was donated to the museum by the Boeing Airplane Co. in 1959. It was on display in the World War II Gallery until it was removed in 2013 to undergo a complete restoration. Following a 15-month restoration, the aircraft is now marked as it appeared when it left the Boeing assembly line in January 1945. Museum restoration specialists removed the old fabric and cleaned the wooden frames and structure. The wood wing ribs were re-varnished to prepare them for the new fabric. Aircraft grade cotton obtained from Europe was used to cover the airframe. Cellulose acetate nitrate and cellulose acetate butyrate dope was then applied to the fabric.

"Our restoration staff is very deserving of this honor," said Museum Senior Curator Krista Strider. "They worked diligently on every phase of the process to ensure that this PT-13D was restored accurately. The aircraft as part of the Tuskegee Airmen exhibit can serve as an educational and research tool for future generations of museum visitors and historians."

More information about the PT-13D is available at

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, is the world's largest military aviation museum. With free admission and parking, the museum features more than 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles and thousands of artifacts amid more than 17 acres of indoor exhibit space. Each year about one million visitors from around the world come to the museum. For more information, visit

NOTE TO PUBLIC: For more information, please contact the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at (937) 255-3286.

NOTE TO MEDIA: For more information, please contact Sarah Swan at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Public Affairs Division at (937) 255-1283.