All pilots, whether they were destined for fighters or bombers, had to go through the pilot training process. One of the most important aircraft for developing new pilot skills was the BT-13 Valiant, sometimes known as the "Vibrator" ~ not for what it did to you, but to the windows of buildings when it flew by. A fixed gear aircraft, thousands of pilots learned critical flying skills and then continued on to the advanced trainer.
Another of the great versatile aircraft of World War II is the fabric covered L-5 Sentinel. This unarmed aircraft was often used for observation, spotting and transporting personnel. It's slow landing speed made it capable of literally landing and taking off from almost anywhere. For that reason, it was one of the very popular aircraft and saw many additional roles, such as air ambulance and search and rescue.
The Ryan PT-22 Recruit primary trainer is a very popular sight at airshows. It's open cockpit design makes it a unique aircraft and one that is a real pleasure to fly in or see flying at air shows. Our Living History Flight Experience customers rave about their experience.
The Commemorative Air Force Minnesota Wing has recently acquired an L-17 Navion. This aircraft was generously donated to the wing by CAF member Harvey Brown.
The L-17 is an example of an aircraft that has a storied history easily forgotten, similar to the Korean War. Post Korea, L-17s were used by the Army and Air Force for various duties, serving through Vietnam as “Hack” aircraft (used for whatever necessary duty on base, or pleasure flight).