Give to the CAF-Big Easy Wing

Give to the CAF-Big Easy Wing so Our Lady, PT-17 Stearman (N1617M), can continue giving future generation the thrill of hearing the rumble of her radial engine, the delight of seeing her classic shape and the enjoyment of riding in her open cockpit. It is not often that we get an opportunity at preserving history, but through the CAF, we can help preserve this historical aircraft. One of our members, Jim Riviere, conducted research and discovered that out of more the 11,000 built, there are 2,500 that are currently on the FAA registry and less than half airworthy (AOPA magazine, 10/2018).  The Big Easy Wing wants to keep this aircraft airworthy.  We cannnot do it without your help.  Please consider making a donation to the 12 Planes of Christmas fundraiser at or visit our website, the Big Easy Wing.

On our website or on Facebook, we have been sharing our Lady’s history.  So far, her history is: American Airpower Heritage Flying Museum of the Commemorative Air Force (2018), Gypsy Barnstormers (2010-2017), Gina Moore of Warbird SkyVenture (2004-2010).

Her next owner, Carson Baker, contacted me back in October.  He searched her “N” number and discovered that she was back in New Orleans and at Lakefront Airport.  Carson has been extremely helpful in providing leads for our research and just yesterday, he sent the FAA CD of her history.

According to his story, Carson purchased the PT 17 Stearman on July 20, 2001 from the Bill Elder’s estate.  Vernon Main who was the agent of Bill Elder’s estate was one of the old time Lakefront Stearman owners and pilots and Vernon gave Carson a quick lesson on the Stearman. After 30 minutes’ worth of Stearman time, Carson took off and headed west around the lake, up the Big River then to Oxford for a fuel stop.  Carson stated that “I drank a gallon of cold water as I had sweated out about 2 gallons!”   After practicing touch and go landings for 2 months at his home in Kentucky, he headed up to the Stearman Fly-In at Galesburg, Illinois with 5 other flying buddies and their Stearmans.  He stated, “what a sight!”   Carson sold the Stearman (17M) on September 5, 2004 to Gina of Warbird SkyVenture.  Carson remarked “after 306 landings, 110.5 hours, and over 3 years of fun, I let her fly away.”

To Carson, the best part of owning a Stearman was “Giving as many rides as I possibly could and watching the reactions of pilots and non-pilots alike being completely awed by the sights, sounds, and aromas of flying a big ole Stearman!” The Big Easy Wing wants to express those same sentiments so please donate to our cause.

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