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Published on Nov 4, 2009
This was a beautiful scale model of a Fairchild PT-23 with Robart R780 7 Cylinder Radial Engine. John Laird pilots it for the owner. It's not the first time it's flown. John had piloted it before some time ago in a scale war bird fly in and took first place. The bad news is and why I said was a beautiful scale model is because later that day after I left the owner was flying it and lost control and crashed it. It was a total loss. I heard the motor survived.
Three basic variations of the Fairchild PT were produced, the PT-19, PT-23 and PT-26. All three versions used the same basic airframe. The first and most common, the PT-19, is an open cockpit design and features Fairchild's Ranger engine with its six inverted inline cylinders. The PT-26 is the Canadian version of the PT-19 and features a sliding canopy and cockpit heating system for protection against the Canadian winters along with a few other differentiating features.
The PT-23 version is identical to the PT-19 from the fire wall back. The difference between the two ships is the Continental "670" radial engine mounted on the front of the PT-23. Production of PT-23's began in 1942 when concerns mounted over a possible shortage of Ranger engines. Interestingly, while Fairchild built the first two prototype PT-23 aircraft, all subsequent production of this particular model was done by the licensed manufacturers.
The Robart R780 is a 7 cylinder radial engine 1/5 scale of a Jacobs 225 HP engine that powered many of the military training and civilian airplanes of the 30's, 40's, and 50's.