BT-13 Valiant

The “Valiant” was the basic trainer most widely used by the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) during WWII. It represented the second of the three stages of pilot training—primary, basic and advanced. Compared with the primary trainers in use at the time, it was considerably more complex. The BT-13 not only had a more powerful engine, it was also faster and heavier. In addition, it required the student pilot to use two-way radio communications with the ground, operate landing flaps and a two-position variable pitch propeller.

Nicknamed the “Vibrator” by the pilots who flew it, the BT-13 was powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-985 engine. But to counter the shortage of these engines early in the BT-13 production program, 1,693 Valiants were produced in 1941-1942 with a Wright R-975 engine and were designated as BT-15s. By the end of WW II, 10,375 BT-13s and BT-15s had been accepted by the USAAF.


Serial Number: 42-1639
First Flight:
March 1939
Late 1960s
Crew: 2
Payload: -
Powerplant: 1x Pratt & Whitney R-985-An-1 air-cooled radial
28 ft 10 in
42 ft
11 ft 6 in
Empty Weight:
3,375 lbs
Loaded Weight:
4,496 lbs
Maximum Speed:
180 mph
Cruise Speed:
135 mph
Range: 725 mi
Service Ceiling: 21,650 ft
AMC Museum Restoration Crew Chief: Bill Lee

Assignment History

The assignment history for the Air Mobility Command Museum's BT-13 Valiant, serial number 42-1639:

Date Location
13 Jan 1943 Delivered to United States Air Force
13 Jan 1943 to 3026th AAF Base Unit, Merced AAF, CA
Jan 1945 to 3021st AAF Base Unit (ATC), Las Vegas AAF, NV
7 Apr 1945 to Reconstruction Finance Corp. facility, Phoenix, AZ and dropped from USAF inventory as surplus
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