The Verville Sport Trainer is a two-seat tandem biplane with graceful lines and a robust structure. Designed by Fred Verville as a civilian version of the YPT-10 primary trainer, it was intended to appeal to the wealthy private owner.
The Sportsman, as it was also known, offered excellent flight characteristics and exceptional stability, due in part to the pronounced dihedral of the lower wing. With luxurious leather trim, battery with starter, and navigation lights, the Sport Trainer sold for $5,250. This aircraft, the 8th of 10 manufactured, was donated to the museum by William H. Champlin Jr. in 1963. (Smithsonian caption)
Alfred Verville prominent in many major American aircraft developments from 1914 well into 1930s. Sportsman was one of series of excellent Verville designs dating back to early 1920s. His earlier successes included designs for tunnel radiators and tapered wings used on Boeing PW-9 and Curtiss PW-8 fighters and his own VCP-1 fighter which was modified into Verville Packard R-1 racer which won first Pulitzer Speed Trophy Nov 20 at 178 mph. Another famous effort was Sperry Messenger, proposed by Billy Mitchell; well accepted, and 32 built. 1922, he created Verville Sperry R-3 which many think to have been most important aircraft of 1920s. Contained features later included on WWII fighters. Was low-wing cantilever monoplane with retractable gear and very clean lines. 3 racing models built but initially unliked because of substitute engine installation which resulted from political infighting within Curtiss Company and refusal to use engine of choice, Curtiss D-12, with Curtiss Reed metal propeller and wing-skin radiators. Later, engine/propeller combination installed and racer finally won Pulitzer 1924; after that aircraft faded into oblivion. 1925, formed Buhl-Verville Aircraft Company of Detroit. Then created B-V Airster biplane with folding, interchangeable wings and other advanced features. Received first Approved Type Certificate of newly formed Aeronautics Branch of the Department of Commerce. Only 20 sold in next 2 years. Verville left firm. 1928, organized Verville Aircraft Company and created Verville Air Coach, good looking cabin monoplane which sold for $10,500. But anything introduced in 1929 was almost bound to fail and only 10-16 built depending on source of information. Most interesting single aircraft of this model was diesel- powered 104 P. Powered by 9-cylinder Packard DR-980 diesel engine, ran well but smelled terrible, and smell permeated aircraft and passengers' clothing. Final Verville design was Sportsman AT, or YPT-10 in military trainer version. USAAC purchased 4 and tested with 5 different engine versions resulting in YPT-10 thru YPT-10D designations. Was conventional aircraft with elegant simplicity. Verville reduced basic structure of steel- tube fuselage and wooden-wing to series of straight lines with minimum of formers and fairings. 165 hp engine could produce top speed of 120 mph, not sensational, but more than adequate for flight training. Despite Verville's many achievements, fame rests primarily on Messenger and his racers.