Pepsi Cola Co Vultee BT-13 Valiant
First Albuquerque Visit: 1949
The Vultee BT-13 “Valiant” is an American World War II-era basic training aircraft built by Vultee Aircraft for the United States Army Air Corps, and later US Army Air Forces. The BT-13 was flown by most American pilots during World War II. It was the second phase of the three phase training program for pilots and after primary training the student pilot moved to the more complex Vultee for continued flight training. The BT-13 had a more powerful engine and was faster and heavier than the primary trainer. The Vultee Model V.54 had a fixed undercarriage and a 450hp Pratt and Whitney R-985-25 engine. There were 300 BT-13s built. The BT-13 took its maiden flight in 1939, and due to the way it shook in flight, pilots referred to it as the Vultee Vibrator.
The BT-13 Valiant was attached to Kirtland Field for liaison and training in 1942. The Valiant’s simplicity and effectiveness caused it to be taken for granted and the aircraft was practically forgotten after all of them were sold at the end of the war.
The Pepsi-Cola Company operated aircraft Skywriters to be used for advertising. The first ad, “Drink Pepsi Cola,” appeared over New York City on May 1, 1941. The advertising became so popular that Pepsi Skywriters carried out more than 2,225 advertisements across the United States in 1940 alone. After WWII, the Pepsi-Cola Company purchased and operated a fleet of surplus Vultee BT-13 Valiants that were turned into Skywriters. In 1949, a Pepsi-Cola Valiant performed smoke writing in the sky over Albuquerque advertising Pepsi soft drinks.
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