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Stinson Vultee V-77
N1943S Stinson Vultee V-77 'Gull Wing' Reliant c/n 77-463 - 'Royal Navy FB 735' - Oostwold airfield in Holland - 1 June 2009 Oostwold Airport (EHOW)

The Stinson Vultee V-77 Gull Wing is a four-to-five seat single engine high wing aircraft designed for private operators and small charter companies. The Stinson Reliant is a tail dragger built of fabric-covered welded steel-tubing structures with a single strut-braced double-tapered wing and flew first in 1933. There were three basic versions of the SR Reliant series airplanes each variation building upon its predecessor with upgraded engines and design refinements. The SR, SR Special, SR-1, SR-2, SR-3, SR-4, SR-5 and the SR-6 together are one version commonly known as the "Straight Wing" Reliant's. These Straight Wing Reliant's have two struts on each side. Second SR series were the SR-7, SR-8, SR-9 and SR-10 which together are known as the "Gull Wing" Reliant's, these aircraft have a single strut for each wing. The third and last Stinson Reliant version was the V-77 which was a modified SR-10 designed for the American military under the designation AT-19. The construction details and general arrangement of the model AT-19 were typical to that of the SR-10 series, and varied only in basic detail, primarily the fuselage and the cowling. The prototype of the AT-19 was first flown in July 1942. The Reliant was used by the U.S. Army in World War II as a utility aircraft, designated UC-81, and as trainer designated AT-19, but was built during World War II primarily for the Royal Navy FAA. Vultee Aircraft Inc. built 500 Stinson Reliants for the Army Air Corps as AT-19’s. Half of them were built in 1942 and half in 1943. All of the AT-19’s were lent to Britain on the Lend-Lease Plan during WWII. They were all ferried to Britain by way of Brazil and the Azores. The AT-19 version as "Reliant 1" was a five-place airplane used to ferry personnel, the AT-19A as "Reliant 2" was equipped with radios and used to train British military personnel in the arts of navigation and radio communication; the AT-19B as the "Reliant 3" was used for observation and aerial photography, while the AT-19C as "Reliant 4" was used mostly for cargo hauling and air express shipments. The V-77 is actually a Vultee model number, as in 1940, the Stinson Aircraft Division had been purchached by Vultee Aircraft Inc. and Stinson was at that time the Stinson Division of Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation. The V-77 was Vultee's 77th design. From 1933 to 1941, Stinson delivered 1,327 Reliant's ranging from the SR-1 through the SR-10. Into late 1943, five hundred of the AT-19 series were built. Stinson Aircraft was actual the Stinson Aircraft Division of the Aviation Manufacturing Corporation. In 1940, the Aviation Manufacturing Corporation sold the Stinson Aircraft Division to Vultee Aircraft Inc.. On 17 March 1943, Vultee Aircraft Inc. merged with Consolidated Aircraft Corporation: the new company name was Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation, Stinson Division.

On 1 June 2009, the 1943-built Stinson Vultee V-77 Gull Wing Reliant N1943S painted in Royal Navy FAA FB735 'invasion' colors was seen during the Oostwold Airshow 2009 at Oostwold Airport in the Netherlands. Stinson V-77 Vultee N1943S was built by the Stinson Aircraft Division of Vultee Inc. for the Royal Navy as an AT-19 / Stinson Reliant. This aircraft was one of 500 built for the Royal Navy. The RN Fleet Air Arm ordered 250 Stinson AT-19 Reliant I under Contract No. DA1072-10 (Serial Numbers: FB523-FB772, ex USAAF 42-43964-44213) and 250 Stinson AT-19 Reliant I under Contract No. DA-1072 (Serial Numbers: FK814-FL163, ex USAAF 42-46640-46889). The aircraft were produced in in Romulus, Michigan where the current Detroit Metro Airport sits today. However 500 aircraft were ordered and built, it is not known how many actually went to England or overseas, and how many stayed unassembled in crates in the US. The lend-lease aircraft that were delivered were used as an advanced trainer, utility passenger carrier and for photo-reconnaissance work. After the war, reportedly 353 AT-19 Stinson Reliant aircraft were returned from England and overseas to the United States, with the last aircraft returned to Norfolk, Virginia, in February 1946. The US authorities attempted to sell the former Fleet Air Arm Reliants as "war surplus" but no one could buy them because the AT-19 / Reliant I had never been certified as a civilian aircraft. Vultee bought them all up and "remanufactured" them as the V-77 to comply with the type certificate, that was approved by the FAA on 26 November 1946. As a result all of the wartime Reliants are known as V-77's instead of SR-10s. All the V-77's show a manufacture date in 1946 and the factory started new logs, so the military logs are not associated with the individual airplanes. The Stinson Vultee V-77 Gull Wing Reliant "N1943S" airframe received the c/n 77-463. On 16 April 1992, the N1943S was registered with J.W. Stoney. On 1 May 2008, the Stinson N1943S painted in Royal Navy FAA FB 735 'invasion' colors was registered with Southern Aircraft Consultancy Inc Trustee, Ditchingham Bungay, Suffolk in the UK. A trust is an Anglo-Saxon legal. The SAC Trustee's are “Insured fiduciaries". Legally there is no owner, but the Trustee became the owner. This construction is often used for enabling non-US Citizens to obtain "N” registration of aircraft with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for aircraft operating principally outside the United States. Stinson Vultee V-77 Gull Wing Reliant N1943S is operating out of Maastricht Airport, the Netherlands, and owned by Mr. Remco Sijben. On 2 April 2010, the aircraft was involved in a landing incident at the temporary airfield Delden, but was repaired.

page last updated: 07-07-2015
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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