The recently formed Commemorative Air Force New England Wing just received its first aircraft, a Fairchild PT-23. The aircraft arrived at its new home, the Hampton Airfield (7B3) in NH, yesterday afternoon, after being diverted to KMHT on Friday.
Some people refer to this aircraft as “Cornell”, so let’s figure out why.
First, a bit about the origins of this design. The Fairchild M-62 (company model designation for this type) was conceived in the late 1930s as a basic trainer for the US Army Air Corps. The initial aircraft delivered to the military were designated “PT-19” and were powered by a Ranger inline engine. Later, the design was switched to use a Continental radial engine; this type carries the designation “PT-23”. The final version of the design was called “PT-26” and had a closed cockpit.
The PT-26s – named “Cornell” by the Royal Canadian Air Force – were used during World War 2 in Canada to train pilots for the British Commonwealth. Many of these were also built in Canada (by Fleet).
With almost 8,000 built, the PT-19/23/26 design was used by some two dozen different air forces around the world, mostly in Latin America, but also in countries like India and South Africa.
A bit more about the CAF New England Wing’s aircraft: Built in 1942, it is a PT-23A (c/n T42-6001) and originally carried the US Army Air Corps’ serial number 42-2962. It was flown (over several days) from Texas to its new home in New Hampshire. For the Wing to acquire this aircraft is the result of a lot of work by many people, not least by the group’s leader and organizer Nick Infantino who will now be off to college to pursue a career in aviation.
(All photos in this article by Ora Lassila / So Many Aircraft.)