The Consolidated PT-3 'Husky' was an updated version of the PT-1 trainer that used the same Wright J-5 engine as the Navy's Consolidated NY trainers.
The original PT-1 had used an inline Wright E engine, but when the Navy accepted the basic type as the NY-1 trainer it insisted on the use of a Wright J air cooled radial engine. By 1927 the army also began to look for a replacement for the Wright E engine, and a single XPT-2 prototype was produced by fitting a Wright J-5 engine into a PT-1. The XPT-2 was completed in 1927.
It was followed by the XPT-3, which introduced new wing panels and a revised vertical fin.
The XPT-3 was ordered into production as the PT-3. 130 PT-3s were built starting in September 1927.
The new engine increased the top speed of the aircraft by 13mph and the service ceiling by 1,900ft
This was followed by an order for eighty slightly modified PT-3As.
By 1927 Consolidated had made a profit of $867,000 on its military training aircraft. Major General Mason M. Patrick, the Chief of the Air Corps, demanded that Consolidated give him their audited costs for these aircraft, and then demanded a refund of $300,000 on what he believed to be excess profits. Patrick asked Consolidated to provide this refund in the form of fifty PT-3As, each of which cost $6,000. Although he had no legal right to this refund, the Army was Consolidated's biggest customer by far, and the company had little choice other that to comply. Reuben Fleet, the founder of Consolidated, managed to get Patrick to agree to buy these aircraft at $1 each, so the Air Corps got fifty aircraft for $50. This brought the total of PT-3As up to 120.
The PT-3 also had limited overseas sales. Four were to Cuba and one each to Brazil, Peru and Argentina.
In total Consolidated produced 591 of the Model 2 NY-1/ NY-2/ PT-3 'Husky'/ O-17 family. The PT-3 and PT-3A account for 250 of these aircraft.
On 24 September 1929 a PT-3 was used by Lt James H. Doolittle to demonstrate blind flying. He flew the aircraft under a hooded cockpit, while Lt Ben Kelsey was a back-up safety pilot, in an un-hooded cockpit.
The PT-3 was eventually replaced by the Stearman PT-13,
Engine: Wright J-5 (R-790) Whirlwind nine-cylinder air-cooled radial engine
Span: 34ft 5.5in
Length: 27ft 8.5in
Height: 9ft 10in
Empty Weight: 1,670lb
Gross Weight: 2,447lb
Maximum Speed: 105mph
Cruising Speed: 85mph
Climb rate: 765ft/ min; to 5,000ft in 7.6min
Range: 250 miles (3.7 hours endurance)