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Vultee BC-3 / 54 BT-13 / BT-15 Valiant / SNV / BC-51

vult-valiant

 

The BC-3 (Model 51 aka BC-51) Army basic combat trainer first flew on 24 March 1939 (piloted by Eddie Allen). The only one built, 39-720, was tested by the Army, who purchased the test model for upgrading as BC-3, one of the only three BC classifications (the other two were North Americans).
 
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Vultee BC-3 39-720
 
Following 1939 tests with the BC-3 variant with retractable landing gear and a 447-kW (600-hp) Pratt & Whitney R-1320-45 radial, the army opted for the lower-powered Model 54 with fixed landing gear. Designed by Richard Palmer, Walt Hite, and others, the initial contract called for 300 aircraft (40-810-1109).
 
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Vultee BT-13
 
The 1939 V54 (Model 51D) was a retractable-gear export model demonstrator with a 600hp R-1340-S1 engine. The one prototype built, NX21753 c/n 140, first flew on 15 November 1939 piloted by Gil Clark), but crashed on 16 November 1939.
 
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Vultee V-54 / 51D NX21753
 
The 1940 V54-A NX21754 c/n 141 was a faired, fixed gear, 450hp R-985-AN-1 powered prototype of the BT-13. It first flew on 28 July 1940.  
 
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Vultee V54-A NX21754
 
The BT-13s were followed by orders for no fewer than 6,407 BT-l3As and 1,125 BT-l3Bs with a 24- rather than 12-volt electrical system.
 
The 1940 BT-13A was powered by a 450hp R-985-AN-1 engine. Gear fairings were deleted in 1941. A total of 7,037 were built: 41-1211-1710, 41-9587-9979, 41-10410-11586, 41-21162-23161, 42-1164-1743, 42-42201-43257, and 42-88674-89573, plus 430 (41-09980-10409) to the USN and USCG as SNV-1, and 12 to the Peruvian AF.
 
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Vultee BT-13A
 
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Vultee 54 Peru export with fairings
 
The 1941 BT-13B featured a 24v electrical system. 1,125 were built (42-89574-90698, and 44-31511-32160), with the last batch of 650 transferred to USN as SNV-2. Totals of all models include Lend-Lease exports to China, France, Haiti, Indonesia, Israel, the Philippines, and South American nations.
 
Demand far outstripped engine supplies, however, and in 1941 the USAAF ordered the BT-15 variant with the 336-kW (450-hp) Wright R-975-11 radial, and production of this model totalled 1,263. (41-9980-10409, 42-1744-2063, and 42-41258-42200)
 
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Vultee BT-15 42-41894

 

The US Navy procurement began with the 1940 US Navy SNV-1, the same as BT-13A. 1,125 (02983-03182, 05675-05874, and 12492-12991) (USN serials total 1,350, but is unexplained—perhaps includes a cancelled batch), with 2 (V222 and V223) to USCG, plus 450 (34135-34584) transferred from USAAF (44-31511-32160, et al).aircraft were retired soon after the war.
 
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Vultee SNV-1 N56319
 
These were followed by 650 SNV-2s, equivalent to the BT-13B, in 1944. They were BT-13B transferred from the USAAF (44-31511-32010 became 52050-52549, and 32011-32160 became 44038-44187).

 

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Circa 1950 of 3 Vultee BT-13s at Puente Sky Ranch


When production ceased in 1944, 11,537 had been built.

 

Gallery

 

BC-3 / Model 51 / BC-51
Engine: P&W R-1340-S3H1G Wasp, 600hp
Wingspan: 42'0"
Length: 28'10"
Useful load: 920 lb
Speed: 180 mph
Range: 725 mi
Seats: 2
Undercarriage: retractable
 
V54 / Model 51D
Engine: P&W R-1340-S3H1G Wasp, 600hp
Undercarriage: retractable
 
BT-13 Valiant / Model 54
Engine: 450hp P&W R-985-25
Wingspan: 42'2"
Length: 28'10"
Useful load: 1121 lb
Max speed: 166 mph
Cruise: 140 mph
Range: 515 mi
Ceiling: 16,500'
Seats: 2
 
BT-13A Valiant / SNV-1
two-seat basic trainer
Powerplant: l x Pratt & Whitney R-984-AN-1, 336kW (450 hp)
Span: 12.80m (42ft)
Length: 8.79m (28ft 10 in)
Max TO weight: 2039 kg (4,496 lb)
Max speed: 180 mph at sea level
Operational range: 725 miles
Armament: none
 
BT-15 Valiant
Engine: Wright R-975-11, 336-kW (450-hp)

 

 

 

 


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