The Valiant was the basic trainer most widely used by the 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 1941-2 with a Wright R-985 engine and were designated as BT-15s. By the end of WWII, 10,375 BT-13s and BT-15s had been accepted by the AAF.
During WWII, Robins AFB served as a repair and supply depot for all BT-13s in the southeast. In addition, BT-13s were located at the nearby Cochran Field which is now the Macon Airport just north of the base. The BT-13 on display was delivered to the AAF in February 1944 to the 3034th AAF Base Unit (Basic Pilot School) Gardner Field, Taft, California. It served at several training fields in California before being declared surplus in September 1945. It was sold and passed to several civilian owners before being acquired by the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. In 1989 it was transferred to the Museum of Aviation for display.
Span: 42 ft. 2 in.
Length: 28 ft. 8.5 in.
Height: 12 ft. 4.75 in.
Weight: 4,227 lbs. loaded
Engines: One Pratt & Whitney R-985 of 450 hp.
Crew: Two (Instructor & Student)
Serial Number: 42-90018
Maximum speed: 155 mph.
Cruising speed: 130 mph.
Range: 880 miles
Service ceiling: 19,400 ft.