Military Wiki
Fairchild PT-19
Role Trainer
Manufacturer Fairchild Aircraft
Designer Armand Thiebolt
First flight 15 May 1939
Introduction 1940
Primary users United States Army Air Corps
United States Army Air Forces
Royal Canadian Air Force
Royal Air Force
Number built 6,397

The Fairchild PT-19 (company designation Fairchild M62) was an American Fairchild Aircraft monoplane primary trainer aircraft that served with the United States Army Air Forces, RAF and RCAF during World War II. It was a contemporary of the Kaydet biplane trainer and was used by the USAAF during Primary Flying Training as the introductory pre-solo phase trainer for introducing new pilots to flying before passing them on to the more agile Kaydet. As with other USAAF trainers of the period, the PT-19 had multiple designations based on the power plant installed.

Design and development

The PT-19 series was developed from the Fairchild M-62 when the USAAC first ordered the aircraft in 1940 as part of its expansion program. The cantilever low-wing monoplane with fixed landing gear and tailwheel design was based on a two-place, tandem seating, open cockpit arrangement. The simple but rugged construction included a fabric-covered welded steel tube fuselage. The remainder of the aircraft used plywood construction, with a plywood-sheathed center section, outer wing panels and tail assembly. The use of an inline engine allowed for a narrow frontal area which was ideal for visibility while the widely set-apart fixed landing gear allowed for solid and stable ground handling.

Fairchild PT-19

Fairchild PT-19B

Fairchild Ranger L-440 engine

The M-62 first flew in May 1939, and won a fly-off competition later that year against 17 other designs for the new Army training airplane. Fairchild was awarded its first Army PT contract for an initial order on 22 September 1939.

The original production batch of 275 were powered by the inline 175 hp Ranger L-440-1 engine and designated the PT-19. In 1941 mass production began and 3,181 of the PT-19A model, powered by the 200 hp L-440-3, were made by Fairchild. An additional 477 were built by Aeronca and 44 by the St. Louis Aircraft Corporation. The PT-19B, of which 917 were built, was equipped for instrument flight training by attaching a collapsible hood to the front cockpit.

When a shortage of engines threatened production, the PT-23 model was introduced which was identical except for the 220 hp Continental R-670 radial powerplant. A total of 869 PT-23s were built as well as 256 of the PT-23A, which was the instrument flight-equipped version. The PT-23 was manufactured in the US by Fairchild, Aeronca, St. Louis Aircraft Corporation and Howard Aircraft Corporation and in Canada by Fleet Aircraft Corporation as well as Fabrica do Galeao in Brazil (220 or 232 between 1944 and 1947). During 1943, USAAF Training Command received a number of complaints about durability issues with the plywood wings of the PT-19 and the PT-23 when exposed to the high heat and/or humidity of training bases located in Texas and Florida.[1] Maintenance officers at the USAAF overhaul depots had been forced to order replacement of the wooden wing sections after only two to three months' active service because of wood rot and ply separation issues.[1] Subsequent to this incident, the USAAF incorporated a demand for all-metal wing sections on all future fixed-wing training aircraft.[1] The final variant was the PT-26 which used the L-440-7 engine. The Canadian-built versions of these were designated the Cornell for use by the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan which was centered in Canada.

Operational history

Compared to the earlier biplane trainers, the Fairchild PT-19 provided a more advanced type of aircraft. Speeds were higher and wing loading more closely approximated that of combat aircraft, with flight characteristics demanding more precision and care. Its virtues were that it was inexpensive, simple to maintain and, most of all, virtually vice-less. The PT-19 truly lived up to its nickname, the Cradle of Heroes. It was one of a handful of primary trainer designs that were the first stop on a cadet's way to becoming a combat pilot.

Thousands of the PT-19 series were rapidly integrated into the US and Commonwealth training programs, serving throughout World War II and beyond. Even after their retirement in the late 1940s, a substantial number found their way onto the US civil register.


Fairchild PT-19 - Ranger L-440-1 Engine (Aircraft # 40-2418)

Fairchild PT-19 used in Little Norway training camp, Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum


Initial production variant of the Model M62 powered by 175hp L-440-1, 270 built.
As the PT-19 but powered by a 200hp L-440-3 and detailed changes, redesignated T-19A in 1948, 3226 built.
Instrument training version of the PT-19A, 143 built and six conversions from PT-19A.
A PT-19 re-engined with a 220hp R-670-5 radial engine.
Production radial-engined version, 774 built.
Instrument training version of the PT-23, 256 built.
PT-19A variant with enclosed cockpit for the Commonwealth Air Training Scheme, powered by a 200hp L-440-3, 670 built for the Royal Canadian Air Force as the Cornell I.
As PT-26 but with a 200hp L-440-7 engine, 807 built by Fleet as the Cornell II.
AS PT-26A with minor changes, 250 built as the Cornell III.
Cornell I
RCAF designation for the PT-26.
Cornell II
RCAF designation for the PT-26A.
Cornell III
RCAF designation for the PT-26B.


Fairchild PT-26B Cornell in flying condition at the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum, Brandon, Manitoba, 2005.

 Republic of China (1912–1949)
  • Paraguayan Air Arm received a few Fairchild M-62s in 1940, followed by 15 Lend-Lease PT-19A in 1942-43.[7] In the 1950s, 14 ex-Brazilian Air Force PT-19s (PT-3FG built under license in Brazil) were received. The last PT-19 was retired in 1972.[citation needed]
 South Africa
 Southern Rhodesia
United States


As of 2015, there are 98 airworthy worldwide today.[10] One example is found at the Jimmy Doolittle Air & Space Museum, Travis Air Force Base, Fairfield, California.

Specifications (PT-19A)

Data from United States Military Aircraft since 1909[11]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 28 ft 0 in (8.53 m)
  • Wingspan: 36 ft 0 in (10.97 m)
  • Height: 10 ft 6 in (3.20 m)
  • Wing area: 200 sq ft (19 m2)
  • Empty weight: 1,845 lb (837 kg)
  • Gross weight: 2,545 lb (1,154 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Ranger L-440-3 6-cyl. inverted air-cooled in-line piston engine, 200 hp (150 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 115 kn; 212 km/h (132 mph)
  • Range: 348 nmi; 644 km (400 mi)
  • Service ceiling: 15,300 ft (4,700 m)
  • Time to altitude: 17.5 min to 10,000 feet (3,000 m)

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Sessums, Col. J.W. Design and Engineering Problems of Aircraft Production. 14 May 1946, pp. 6–8.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Andrade 1979, p. 179
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Andrade 1979, p. 239
  4. Flight 13 May 1955, p. 634.
  5. Flight 13 May 1955, p. 648.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Flight 13 May 1955, p. 652.
  7. Fricker Air International May 1990, p. 257.
  8. Flight 13 May 1955, p. 653.
  9. Air International August 1990, pp. 72–73.
  10. Murphy, Kevin. "Fairchild PT-19 / PT-23 / PT-26 Cornell." Warbird Alley, 2011.
  11. Swanborough and Bowers 1963, pp. 258–260.
  • Andrade, John, U.S.Military Aircraft Designations and Serials since 1909 Midland Counties Publications, 1979, ISBN 0 904597 22 9.
  • Fricker, John. "Fuerza Aérea Paraguaya: Latin America's vest-pocket air force". Air International, Vol. 38 No. 5, May 1990. pp. 255–261.
  • Mondey, David. American Aircraft of World War II (Hamlyn Concise Guide). London: Bounty Books, 2006. ISBN 978-0-7537-1461-4.
  • "Shoestring Top Cover...The Uruguayan Air Force". Air International, Vol. 39 No. 2, August 1990. pp. 65–73.
  • Swanborough, F.G. and Peter M. Bowers. United States Military Aircraft since 1909. London: Putnam, 1963.
  • Taylor, Michael J.H. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation Vol. 3. London: Studio Editions, 1989. ISBN 0-517-10316-8.
  • "The World's Air Forces". Flight. Vol. 67, No. 2416, 13 May 1955. pp. 615–668.

External links

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