Contributions to Aviation History
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of the Stearman biplane is the fact that they were one of the first aircraft introduced to the military that could be used by women. During the World War II era, women were generally not allowed to serve aboard airplanes. However, by 1943, a shortage of regular pilots at home resulted in a number of aircraft failing to be used. Rather than let the Stearman Model 75 collect dust, the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) made use of the airplanes for the remainder of the war. While only a few WAVES got the chance to pilot the craft, the program helped establish the potential for female aviators, which is a common fact in today's Air Force.
After the war, due to the large surplus of biplanes, the Stearman was sold off to civilian contractors and businesses by the thousands. They were adopted most readily for workhorse planes, performing as cropdusters nationwide. Many pilots, mostly veterans, were also now capable of performing impressive feats with the biplanes. Hundreds of squadrons of show and sports pilots were formed around the country, bringing the excitement over the airplane to people everywhere.
One of the most prominent marketing campaigns involving aviation also included the Stearman biplane as a participant. The Red Baron Pizza company created a small airshow dubbed the “Red Baron Squadron" in the late 1970s. Utilizing the airplane painted red and sporting the company logo, the show toured around the country for 28 years until it was retired in 2007.
The Stearman biplane is one of the most prominent airplanes ever created. In addition to military use, it also had a strong showing in the civilian aviation market in the postwar years. With nearly ten thousand Model 75 aircraft built, it's no wonder the planes have made an impact – the sheer volume is unprecedented for a biplane training craft.