From 1917 – 1918, he attended Kansas State College (later renamed Kansas State University) in Manhattan, Kansas, where he studied engineering and architecture.
In 1918, he left school to enlist in the U.S. Naval Reserve in San Diego, California. While there he learned to fly Curtiss N-9 seaplanes. During the mid-1920s Matty Laird, designer of the Laird Swallow aircraft, hired Stearman as a mechanic, giving him his first exposure to fixed-wing aircraft manufacturing.
On February 4, 1925, Stearman and Walter Beech teamed up with Clyde Cessna to form the Travel Air Manufacturing Company. On 27 September 1927, he left to form his own manufacturing company, the Stearman Aircraft Corporation. It was there that he built the Stearman C2 and Stearman C3, and designed other biplanes for mail and cargo delivery, observation and training.
After WWII, many Stearman PT-13 primary trainers were converted to agricultural aircraft. In 1948 more than 4,345 Stearman aircraft were used in agricultural flying. In the early 1930s, Stearman became president of Lockheed Aircraft Company (now Lockheed Martin Corporation), during which time the Lockheed 10 Electra and Lockheed 12 were designed and introduced.
In 1936 with Dean B. Hammond he formed the Stearman-Hammond Aircraft Corporation to produce the Stearman-Hammond Y-1. Stearman died of cancer in 1975. In recognition of his contributions to the aircraft industry, Lloyd Stearman was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio in July 1989.
Member: Society of Automotive Engineers. National. Aeronautic Association. Quiet Birdmen. Club: Kiwanis (Wichita).
Spouse V. Ethyl Trusty, October 6, 1920, Harper, Kansas.