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The Vultee BT-13 Valiant was an American World War II-era advanced (although called basic) trainer aircraft built by Vultee Aircraft.

Vultee BT-13 Valiant

Design and development

The Vultee BT-13 was the basic trainer flown by most American pilots during World War II. It was the second phase of the three phase training program for pilots. After primary training in PT-13, PT-17, or PT-19 trainers, the student pilot moved to the more complex Vultee for continued flight training. The BT-13 had a more powerful engine and was faster and heavier than the primary trainer. It required the student pilot to use two way radio communications with the ground and to operate landing flaps and a two-position Hamilton Standard controllable-pitch propeller. It did not, however, have retractable landing gear nor a hydraulic system. The flaps were operated by a crank-and-cable system. Its pilots nicknamed it the "Vultee Vibrator."


Due to the demand for this aircraft, and others which used the same Pratt & Whitney engine, some were equipped with Wright powerplants of similar size and power built in 1941–42. The Wright-equipped aircraft were designated BT-15.


The Navy adopted the P&W powered aircraft as their main basic trainer, designating it the SNV. The BT-13 production run outnumbered all other Basic Trainer (BT) types produced.


In 1938, Vultee chief designer Richard Palmer began designing a single-engine fighter aircraft. About that time, the Army Air Corps issued a solicitation for an advanced trainer, with the promise of a substantial order if selected. Palmer adapted his design concept from a fighter to an advanced trainer, resulting in the V-51 prototype.

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The Vultee BT-13 Valiant was an American World War II-era advanced (although called basic) trainer aircraft built by Vultee Aircraft for the United States Army Air Corps, and later US Army Air Forces. A subsequent variant of the BT-13 in USAAC/USAAF service was known as the BT-15 Valiant, while an identical version for the US Navy was known as the SNV and was used to train naval aviators for the US Navy and its sister services, the US Marine Corps and US Coast Guard

Vultee BT-13 Valiant

After World War II, virtually all were sold as surplus for a few hundred dollars each. Many were purchased just to obtain their engines, which were mounted on surplus biplanes (such as Stearmans) to replace their less powerful engines for use as cropdusters. The BT airframes were then scrapped. Several others were modified as multi-passenger civilian aircraft; one as the "Viceroy" and at least two others by a different firm. Today, some "BT's" (collectively, BT-13s, BT-15s and SNVs) are still flying, though in very limited numbers (and none in military or government service).

Vultee BT-13 Valiant: See below

  • History

    Role Trainer

    Manufacturer Vultee Aircraft

    First flight March 1939

    Introduction June 1940

    Primary users United States Army Air Forces

    United States Navy

    Number built 9,525

  • General characteristics

    Crew: 2

    Length: 28 ft 10 in (8.79 m); Wingspan: 42 ft 0 in (12.80 m)

    Height: 11 ft 6 in (3.51 m)

    Wing area: 239 sq ft (22.2 m2)

    Empty weight: 3,375 lb (1,531 kg); Gross weight: 4,496 lb (2,039 kg)

    Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN-1 nine-cylinder air-cooled radial engine, 450 hp (340 kW)

  • Performance


    Maximum speed: 180 mph (290 km/h; 156 kn)

    Range: 725 mi (630 nmi; 1,167 km)

    Service ceiling: 21,650 ft (6,600 m)

    Time to altitude: 9.2 minutes to 10,000 ft (3,000 m)

Vultee BT-13 Valiant "Vultee Vibrator."


The Vultee BT-13 Valiant was an American World War II-era advanced (although called basic) trainer aircraft built by Vultee Aircraft


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