PT-22 Aircraft Soars into Walnut Ridge Airport for 81st Anniversary
(Little Rock, Arkansas, September 29, 2023) - When it opened in October 1942, Walnut Ridge Airfield in Arkansas served as a U.S. Army Air Force Basic Flying School. It was the largest school in the Southeast Training Command, covering 3096.22 acres, with hundreds of buildings — and five auxiliary airfields.
The airfield, now called Walnut Ridge Regional Airport, will celebrate its 81st anniversary in style on October 14, 2023. Locals, vintage aviation enthusiasts, and history buffs will gather to witness a remarkable event. The show's star will be the CAF's PT-22 aircraft, assigned to the Razorback Wing. This remarkable occasion will provide a glimpse into the past, honoring the airport's rich heritage and the legacy of the PT-22.
The PT-22, also known as the Ryan PT-22 Recruit, was a primary trainer aircraft used by the U.S. Army Air Corps during the 1930s and 1940s. Designed by the renowned aviation company Ryan Aeronautical, the PT-22 was essential to pilot training during World War II.
The aircraft featured a sleek and iconic design with its low-wing monoplane configuration, open cockpit, and tandem seating for the instructor and trainee. Powered by a Kinner R-540 engine, the PT-22 provided the perfect platform for aspiring pilots to develop their flying skills before transitioning to more advanced aircraft.
The event is a testament to the enduring legacy of aviation and the importance of Airfields like this across the country. The presence of the PT-22 will add a nostalgic touch that will transport attendees back to the golden era of flying. The aircraft's unmistakable silhouette and the characteristic roar of its engine paid homage to the countless pilots who trained diligently in similar aircraft during World War II. It was a poignant reminder of the sacrifices and dedication of those who served their country in the skies.
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