Lloyd Stearman established the Stearman Aircraft Corporation in 1927. Initially, the company was founded as Stearman Aircraft Corporation in October 1926 at Venice, California, where four C1 and C2 biplanes were built before production halted for financial reasons. On 27 September 1927 a new Stearman Aircraft Corporation was founded.
The factory was then established in Wichita, Kansas with financing of Walter Innes where the new model Stearman C3 and Stearman 4 Speedmail were constructed. Two years later, he sold it to the United Aircraft and Transport Corporation.
In September 1934, United was forced to separate its airline and aircraft manufacturing operations. At this time, Boeing became a separate business once again, and Stearman was made a subsidiary of it. Stearman officially ceased to operate as a brand at this point, but it was at this same time that the Stearman plant created its most successful and enduring product, the Model 75 “Kaydet”. The Kaydet would become the primary trainer aircraft for the US military during World War II.
In 2005, Boeing sold the civil portion of the former Stearman operations to Onex, forming Spirit AeroSystems, although they have retained the military operations.
A national Stearman fly-in is held every year around Labor Day in Galesburg, IL.