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George H.W. Bush’s Minnesota training plane on display

Former President George H.W. Bush is seen during his U.S. Navy Primary Flight Training in Minnesota in 1942. (Courtesy of the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum)

ST. PAUL — One of the planes used by the late President George H.W. Bush while training as a fighter pilot in Minnesota is now on display in Eden Prairie.

In 1943, Bush logged 2.8 hours on a N2S-1 Stearman on display at Eden Prairie’s Wings of the North museum. The plane is on permanent loan to the museum from a private owner.

Bush enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the age of 18, becoming the Navy’s youngest aviator at the time. He was then transferred to the Naval Air Station in Minneapolis for preliminary flight training. The station’s Wold-Chamberlain Field would later become the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

“That’s where I first took off in an airplane, where I first soloed, where I first flew at night,” Bush said when he was vice president.

Stearmans, built by a company of the same name, were single-engine biplanes with two open cockpits, able to reach cruising speeds of 85 mph.

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