THE STEARMAN

The Rilla-Martha II is a 1942 Boeing PT17 Stearman (the same Boeing that builds jets and spacecraft today). It started life as a military trainer in the US, and after WWII was retired to civilian service, where it has worked as an agricultural aircraft, an airshow performer and as a private aircraft.

The Stearman was originally equipped with a 220 horsepower radial engine, but many (ours included) were modified with a 450 horsepower Pratt and Whitney R985 Wasp Junior engine, the same engine that powers the ubiquitous de Havilland Beaver. This modification gave the aircraft more than double its original power, and was done so the Stearman could be used effectively in a crop spraying role. Many of these higher powered aircraft found their way into the airshow circuit, where they distinguished themselves as excellent performers and real crowd pleasers. Many people will have fond memories of the unmistakable roar of a 985-powered Stearman doing big, graceful maneuvers in a clear blue sky.

Beautiful to look at on the ground or in the air, this historic aircraft turns heads wherever it goes.