Stearman PT-17 expected at Scottsdale Airport next week

A view of a WWII-era Boeing Stearman PT-17 Biplane. (Submitted photo)

At about 1 p.m. Thursday, April 27, Scottsdale Airport is expected to welcome a Stearman PT-17 biplane, the same as those flown by student pilots at Thunderbird Field II — now Scottsdale Airport — during World War II.

This aircraft will serve as the centerpiece of the new Thunderbird Field II Plaza and Memorial, which will be at the new Scottsdale Airport Aviation Business Center slated for construction this summer.

It serves as a monument and memorial to all veterans and the rich history of Scottsdale Airport, according to a press release.

The aircraft was purchased by the Thunderbird Field II Veterans Memorial Inc., a 501(c) 3 nonprofit.

The Stearman should arrive around 1 p.m. Thursday, April 27, at Ross Aviation, 14600 N. Airport Drive, after leaving from Arkansas two days prior.

Unlike their modern counterparts, the average speed of this military trainer is expected to be around 85 miles per hour. It will be piloted on its final cross-country trip by Steve Ziomek, a former U.S. Coast Guard rescue pilot and chairman of the Thunderbird Field II Veterans Memorial, and Mike Pfleger, a Scottsdale Honor Health emergency room physician and commemorative Air Force pilot.

Over 10,000 Stearman trainers were built in the 1930s and 1940s, and less than 1,000 worldwide are still flying.

The aircraft will arrive painted all yellow, but will be repainted in the traditional Army Air Corps blue and yellow found at Thunderbird Field II during its heyday, the release states.

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