Fleetwings Model 23 / BT-12 Sophomore
1939
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Fleetwings Model 23 / BT-12 Sophomore

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Barry, 06.07.2016

When the rumblings of war were heard across the U.S.A. the USAAC realised that they were a bit behind the curve when it came to having enough aircrew and placed an order with specialist stainless steel manufacturer Fleetwings for a 176 Model 23/ BT 12. One prototype was built and 24 production models before cancellation; the army preferring the Vultee BT-13.

Power plant 1 x 450 h.p Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior radial engine

Span 40'0" Length 29'2" Height 11'4" Wing area 240 sq ft
Empty weight 3,173 lb Gross weight 4,497 lb

Max speed 195 mph Cruising speed 150 mph Range 675 miles
Service ceiling 23,800 ft

Klaatu, 16.04.2011

Designed as a Basic Trainer for the Army Air Force. Aircraft was unusual in being fabricated out of stainless steel rather than aluminum or wood. Only 24 built, and the reasons for the cancellation of the production contract is obscure. Possibly structurally overweight or too expensive, or possibly the company was involved in other work? Does anyone know for sure? In any case, the AAF seems to have relied upon the familiar North American BT-9/AT-6 series or trainers.

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