1930 Stearman Cloudboy L-6 / YPT-9





Lloyd C. Stearman formed Stearman Aircraft in Venice, Cal., in 1926. Here, he designed and built the first Stearman airplane, the C-1. This was followed quickly by the C-2. Aware of these fine designs, friends and investors invited him to Kansas to reestablish his company in Wichita on September 27, 1927.


The first Wichita product was the C-3MB Mailplane delivered to Varney Airlines. On August 15, 1929, Stearman Aircraft became part of United Aircraft and Transport Corp which controlled several businesses, such as United Airlines, Pratt & Whitney, Hamilton-Standard Propellers, Boeing, Sikorsky and Vought Aircraft.

In the early 1930’s the fledgling Army Air Corps that was still looking for suitable replacements for their ancient Curtiss Jennys and early PT series aircraft. The military had a delicious approach to selecting airplanes in those days: They would buy a half dozen each of several different airplanes, fly them and place production orders for the one they liked. The service test designation was Y, so the Series Six Stearmans became YPT-9s. The competition, incidentally, was the YPT-7, Mohawk Pinto, made on Lake Street in Minneapolis. Only 10 Series Six biplanes were produced in 1930-'31. Four of these went to Army Air Corps and 6 others into civilian hands and were knows as the “Cloudboy.”

Lloyd Stearman left the company he founded at this time to become associated with Walter Varney in his airline ventures. In 1932, Stearman became president of Lockheed Aircraft Corporation of California.


In September 1934, a government trust-busting suit separated United Aircraft's airline and manufacturing activities. Boeing Aircraft Co., renamed from Boeing Airplane Co. and a separate entity from Boeing Air Transport, pulled out of United and took Stearman with it as wholly-owned subsidiary airplanes in production and those subsequently produced to the end of WW II were Boeings by their paperwork and nameplates. In realty they were stubbornly called Stearmans by evryone associated with them.


The museum's Stearman YPT-9 was manufactured on July 20, 1930, as a Model 6. This series was designed primarily for military training, but a number were sold as commercial trainers and became known as Cloudboy.




Engine: Lycoming R-680-17 (B4E)

Max Speed: 120 mph

Cruise Speed: 100 mph

Landing Speed: 47 mph

Climb: 875 fpm

Service Ceiling: 15,000’

Gas capacity: 38 gal.

Range: 300-500 miles

Length: 23’ 8”

Height: 9’ 7” (tail up)

Wing Span: 32’ 0” (upper), 28’ 0” (lower)

Wing chord: 60” upper and lower

Total wing area: 150.3 sq. ft. (upper), 121.9 sq. ft. (lower)

Airfoil: N-22

Empty weight: 1880 lbs.

Useful load: 671 lbs.

Payload w/full fuel: 235 lbs.

Gross weight: 2551 lbs.