The aircraft in the photo on the left is a Cornell PT26. It is owned and operated by the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum in Brandon. The Cornell was designed by the Fairchild Aircraft in Hagerstown Maryland as an elementary trainer for the RCAF. Originally the aircraft was designed as a trainer for the American Air Force and was designated the PT19.
Fleet Aircraft Ltd. at Fort Erie Ont. was contracted by Fairchild to manufacture the PT26 under licence. Fleet’s first Cornell was flown in July 9,1942. Altogether Fleet produced 1642 examples of the PT26 for the RAF and the RCAF.
The CATP museum acquired the aircraft in 1985. It was found in a farmers pasture in
Saskatchewan. Because the aircraft’s wings, center section, and tail are all manufactured out of wood, it is very susceptible to the damaging effects of the elements. When acquired by the museum it was in a very sad state. A massive Restoration project started in 1986. The entire aircraft was disassemble& and rebuilt using a11 new materials. It was overhauled under the supervision of Murray Palmer of General Air Care Ltd. of Souris. It took to the skies again after an estimated 6000 hrs. of Volunteer man hours on October 1, 1988.
The Cornell has a Ranger 200 hp. 440 cubic inch engine. It is a 6 cylinder inverted in line engine. The engine uses approximately 11 gal. of fuel per hour. The Cornell will cruise at 105 mph and a maximum drive speed of 191 mph. The aircraft has a wing span of 37 ft. and a length of 29 ft. The empty weight of this aircraft is 1877 lbs. and a gross weight of 28001bs. It has a ceiling of 13,200 ft.
The aircraft is a delight to fly. It is light on the controls and very responsive.