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The Stinson Reliant first flew in 1933 and was developed as a single engine civilian aircraft which was produced up until 1941. Featuring a high wing, the plane was built in a variety of different versions, all with different engines. Later models featured a more modern gull-wing design compared to the fixed width wing of the earlier aircraft. The gull-wing Stinson was also developed into a military liaison and training plane featuring a significantly strengthened structure compared to the civilian variant. Following the war, military Stinson's were mainly sold on to civilian owners as the Vultee V-77. In addition to the USA and UK, the Stinson was also flown by the militaries of Argentina, Australia and Uruguay.
Given the US designation of AT-19, this militarised version of the Reliant was developed for training pilots. Under the lend-lease arrangement, 573 AT-19s were transferred to the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm. The types performance characteristics made it ideal as a communications or as a navigational trainer and the Fleet Air Arm made us of this between 1943 and 1946. Following the war the majority of the surviving aircraft were returned the USA and sold on the civilian market.
Representing the Navy Wings collection on static display at this year's Air Tattoo will be Stinson Reliant N69745 which carries serial number 42-46703 in US service and FK877 in Royal Navy service. Whilst not owned directly by Navy Wings, the aircraft is classed as an Associate of the collection and is owned by Paul Kehoe. Photo credit: Dean West