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Red Baron Pizza Boeing Stearman PT-17


Model ID#:












Red Baron Pizza

Model Scale:




historical significance

First Albuquerque Visit:    1986

SKU: Model-0806 Categories: ,

Additional Information:

The Stearman Model 75 was an American biplane formerly used as a military training aircraft and was built in the United States during the 1930s and 1940s first by Stearman Aircraft and then as a subsidiary to Boeing beginning in 1934. It became widely known as either the Stearman or the Boeing Stearman when it served as a primary trainer for the United States Army Air Forces and the United States Navy throughout World War II. After the conflict was over, thousands of surplus aircraft were sold to the civilian market for use as crop dusters, sports planes, and for aerobatic use in air shows.

In 1941 the U.S. government approved the civilian version of the Model 75 which was designated the PT-13, PT-17, and PT-18, depending on the type of radial engine installed. The PT-17 came with a Continental R-670-5 engine and there were approximately 2,942 produced.

The Red Baron Pizza Squadron grew out of a brilliant promotion by the Schwan Food Company that was originally scheduled for a single year. Beginning in 1979, using fully restored Boeing Stearman biplanes with open cockpits that were built between 1941 and 1943, the barnstorming pilots were dressed in period clothing and cruised around the country in 300 horsepower Stearmans. The Squadron made appearances to promote the newly created Red Baron pizza brand. The popularity of the program caused the company to revisit and eventually extend the marketing run.

The program began to innovate and evolve the program to include promotional rides, formation flying and aerobatics. The campaign hit its apex when the aircraft converted to 450hp engines and the team hired a veteran announcer for the shows. The new Pratt & Whitney 985 engines allowed the team to perform tight four-ship formation aerobatics and do more challenging maneuvers while a detailed narrative was provided to describe how difficult the flying actually was. After 29 years of air show performances featuring two four-ship teams, the Schwan Food Co. in Marshall, Minn., grounded the Red Baron Pizza Squadron at the end of 2007.

The four aircraft PT-17 team, each painted bright red and white, performed at an air show in Albuquerque on October 21-23, 1986. The aircraft numbers who performed here were recorded as N-431-RB, N-806-RB, N803-RB and N807-RB.