P.Bowers Curtiss Aircraft 1907-1947 (Putnam)
In 1917 the Navy gave Curtiss a contract for five single-seat seaplane scouts to be powered with the American-built version of the 100 hp French Gnome rotary engine. This was the first Curtiss design laid down from the start with a rotary engine and was given the designation of GS for Gnome Scout. The designation was altered to GS-1 and GS-2 when a contract for one additional GS was received,
The aeroplane designated GS-1, Navy serial number A868, was the sixth GS. It was a triplane that drew heavily on Curtiss experience with the S-3 to S-6 and other triplanes. Other than the three wings, the unusual feature of the GS-1 was the incorporation of shock absorbers in the struts between the fuselage and the main float. Seaplanes with their rigid truss between float and fuselage had always taken a beating during rough-water take-offs and alightings, but the GS-1 seems to have been the first aeroplane on record in which something has been done about it. Unfortunately, the scheme didn't work well. The flexibility m the rigging allowed the trim angle of the float to change at high speed on the water and induce undesirable porpoising of the entire aeroplane. The GS-1 was nicknamed 'Flying Door Knob Control' by Curtiss pilots because of the detail of one of the controls on the tricky carburation system of the rotary engine.
The GS-1 was delivered to the Navy in Florida on 1 January, 1918. After demonstration by a Curtiss test pilot, the Navy acceptance pilot made several flights but damaged the machine beyond repair on a landing on 1 April.
The first five Gnome Scouts, Navy serial numbers A445/449, were biplanes. These were not merely two-winged versions of the GS-1 but were entirely different designs. Little is known of these beyond photographs and Curtiss test pilots' comments on their tail heaviness. First acceptance was on 14 February, 1918, and the last was on 9 August. A447 was sold as surplus in August 1920 and A449 was struck off charge in November 1923.
W.Green, G.Swanborough The Complete Book of Fighters
CURTISS GS USA
During 1917, the US Navy issued the Curtiss company with a contract for five single-seat fighting scout float seaplanes powered by a US-built version of the 100 hp Gnome nine-cylinder rotary, the GS designation indicating "Gnome Scout". These were completed under the designation GS-2 when a supplementary contract was issued for a sixth aeroplane which was assigned the designation GS-1. The GS-1 was a single-seat triplane with a single central float and outrigger stabilizing floats which drew heavily on Curtiss S-3 experience. An unusual feature was the introduction of shock absorbers in the struts between the fuselage and the central float. These resulted in the float angle being subject to change at high speed on the water and producing an undesirable porpoising. Delivered to the US Navy early in 1918, the GS-1 was flown several times by US Navy acceptance pilots, but was eventually damaged beyond repair as a result of a heavy landing. The five similarly-powered GS-2s differed from the GS-1 primarily in being of biplane configuration, but little is recorded of these aircraft apart from the fact that they suffered from tail heaviness. No data are available for either GS-1 or GS-2.