Curtiss Aircraft 1907-1947

P.Bowers - Curtiss Aircraft 1907-1947 /Putnam/

The Curtiss-built version of the British Bristol Fighter failed because the American Liberty engine was too heavy for it.
Curtiss completed only this one of 1,000 British S.E.5 fighters ordered but assembled 56 others that had been built in Britain.
The F-5L was an Americanized version of the British F.5 that evolved from earlier Curtiss H models. This is the first Curtissbuilt version, shown with postwar tail modification in July 1927.
Curtiss installed tandem engines in one F-5L to test the concept before making modifications to the first two NC boats.
The original version of the Model 18T (for triplane) Wasp was tail heavy with the unswept wings shown.
A PROMISING AMERICAN MACHINE. - The Curtiss-Kirkham triplane, which has, we are informed, put up some very excellent performances during her preliminary trials. Over a measured course an average speed of 160 m.p.h. was attained, while in another test an altitude of 26,300 ft. was reached.
When fitted with longer wings as either a landplane or seaplane, the Curtiss Wasp was designated 18T-2. The short-wing version became 18T-1 retroactively.
The first successful Curtiss seaplane of January 1911 had tandem floats and a forward hydrovane.
The second Curtiss seaplane had the engine forward and the pilot aft. Glenn Curtiss used this machine to fly from North Island to the cruiser Pennsylvania anchored in San Diego Bay.
Glenn Curtiss demonstrates the Triad, the first successful amphibian, at San Diego in February 1911.
The third wing on this mid-1911 Curtiss hydro generated 200 Ib of additional lift.
The standard Curtiss hydro of late 1911 still had the forward elevator. but the forward booms were no longer used and the elevator was mounted on the float.
A-1, Triad
The first twin-engined American aeroplane, the Model H. was built for an attempted Atlantic crossing in the summer of 1914 and was named America. This became a class name for many of its direct descendants.
Unable to lift the fuel required for the Atlantic crossing in its original configuration. the first America was given a third engine.
The H-4s were production versions of the 1914 America. The Anzani radial engines shown were installed in Britain.
The H-10 was a further tractor development of the America.
The. H-14 was a small twin-engined flying-boat that was converted to a single-engined type with a more powerful engine. The example in this photograph has also been identified as the H-8.
Model H, America
H-12As were H-12s with their 200 hp Curtiss engines replaced in Britain by 275 hp Rolls-Royce Eagles.
H-12Ls were US Navy production versions of the H-12 fitted with the 360 hp low-compression Liberty engine. Navy wartime colouring was grey overall.
Postwar passenger conversion of an H-16. The pilot's cockpit was relocated between the wings and the entire forward hull converted to a passenger cabin.
The single H-16-1 was a standard H-16 with the engines installed as pushers.
The H-16-2 had additional rudder area and the wings were swept back to overcome the tail heaviness of the pusher engine installation.
The first HA was excessively tail heavy and crashed on its first night.
The HA2 differed from the HA-1 mainly in wing and engine cowling detail.
The HA was tested on wheels as a mail plane. The short wings were unsatisfaclory and two-bay wings of the HA-2 type were installed on the three sold to the US Post Office.
The first Curtiss JN-4 was virtually indistinguishable from the JN-3.
The JN-4A was a later aeroplane than the JN-4B and used B-type tail surfaces. Distinguishing features were the engine down-thrust and Increased wing dihedral.
The JN-4B of 1916 was sold to both private owners and the US Army.
The JN-4Can Canuck follow-on to the JN-3 was developed in Canada. This one was the first aeroplane to fly on skis in Canada. The C-number on the rudder is the Royal Flying Corps Service number and should not be confused with US civil C-registrations issued from 1927.
This transfer of a man from a speeding car to a JN-4C Canuck along the straight of a racetrack is representative of some of the Air Circus stunts performed during the Jenny Era of 1920-25.
Further antics of the Jenny Era. Gladys Ingle, a lady daredevil, transfers from the upper wing of one JN4D to the lower wing of another. The kingposts on top of the wing were essential to her stance. The other Jenny has had the kingposts removed and the upper wing overhang braced with struts instead of wires.
The prototype JN-4D of 1917 differed from the production models only in having ailerons fitted to upper and lower wings.
The JN-4D was the principal US Army primary trainer of 1917-18. This is a perfect restoration completed in 1967 by airline pilot Dan Neumann.
The improved JN-4D-2 was intended to replace the JN-4D, but only this single example was built before the cancellation of war orders. The only outward difference was the level position of the engine relative to the downthrust of the JN-4D.
Short-span Hi-lift wings were provided for Jennies by various builders. This JN-4D operated as a seaplane in Alaska into the early 19305.
In the JN-4H series the 90 hp Curtiss OX-5 engine was replaced by the 150 hp Wright-Hispano. Note the enlarged radiator. This is the JN-4HB bomber-trainer version.
The JN-4HG was used for gunnery training. This example has a synchronized Marlin machine-gun for the pilot, two Lewis machine-guns in the rear cockpit, and a fixed camera gun on top of the upper wing.
A Long Wing Jenny, a JN-4H with the standard lower wing panels replaced by upper wing panels. Such alterations were made often by ingenious private owners.
The JN-5 was a JN-4H fitted with short-span wings for improved performance but was not a success. The example illustrated is seen with experimental metalframe JN-4H wings.
The JN-5 was reconverted to a JN-4H and used for test work at McCook Field. Here it is fitted with an early controllable-pitch propeller and an experimental rudder that incorporates a steerable tailskid.
The JN-6H models could be distinguished from the JN-4Hs mainly by the addition of ailerons to the lower wing. This first JN-6HB bomber-trainer is one of a very few to use the JN-5 form of fin and rudder.
Starting. in 1923, over 200 wartime JN-4s and JN-6s were rebuilt and standardized under the designation of JNS. Absence of lower wing ailerons made them resemble JN-4H models.
Various Jenny models were converted to ambulances with varying configurations. This one with raised housing for a stretcher case is a former JN-6HG-1 gunnery trainer.
A Sikorsky monoplane wing fitted to a JN-4D. Sperry offered a similar installation. The registration's C prefix meant that the aeroplane was licensed for commercial operation but could not fly outside of the United States.
JN-4 Can (Canuck).
JN-4D and JN-6H.
Curtiss seaplanes on Lake Keuka, Hammondsport, NY, in 1914.
The Navy C-2 was essentially a stock Curtiss Model F flying-boat with exlra span added to the top wing. This was used for early automatic pilot experiments in August 1913.
The Model K of 1915 showed the influence of both the F and J designs.
The Curtiss N-9 was the standard US Navy primary trainer of World War I and early 1920s. Early models with Curtiss engines were retroactively identified as N-9C to distinguish them from later N-9H models with Hispano-Suiza engines.
Two N-10s were standard N-9 airframes fined with shorter-span wings for livelier performance as gunnery trainers.
The NC-1 in its original three-engined configuration with upper wing gunner's position.
The NC-2 was also threeengined, but with the centre engine installed as a pusher and the pilots' seats in the forward part of the centre nacelle.
NC-2 was converted to have four engines in two tandem nacelles. The control nacelle in the centre was soon eliminated in favour of a conventional pilots' cockpit.
NC-3 and NC-4 were completed in the four-engined configuration of the modified NC-1. NC-4, illustrated, made the first aerial crossing of the Atlantic in May 1919.
The R-6 differed mainly from the R-3 in having a more powerful engine and three degrees or dihedral on the outer wing panels.
The R-9s were structurally identical to the R-6s but the pilot was in the front seat. The Navy serial number verifies this as an R-9 but the photograph shows wheel control in the rear cockpit.
The Curtiss R-6 of early 1917 was a two seat reconnaissance machines flown by both the US Navy and US Army, who ordered 76 and 18 examples, respectively. It should be noted that eight of the Army machines were transferred to the Navy prior to delivery. Powered by a 200hp Curtiss V-Z-3, the R-6, with its top level speed of 83mph was not a very vivid performer, being best remembered as being the first US aircraft to be operationally deployed overseas. This came about when the US Marines' 1st Aeronautical Company took its R-6s to Ponta Delgada in the Azores, on 21 January 1918. The machine seen here, Bu Aer A 193, is of interest in being the only R-6 to be fitted with a single, central float, plus outriggers, the rest of the R-6s using the conventional twin float arrangement.
The Curtiss Model S-1 was the smallest aeroplane that could be built to accommodate the 90 hp Curtiss OX engine.
The original 20-ft wing of the Model S-1 was inadequate so the upper span was increased and braced with diagonal struts.
The Curtiss S-2 was named Wireless because the unique strut bracing system eliminated the need for conventional wires.
The four US Army Curtiss S-3s of early 1917 carried the new US national aeroplane markings but did not carry guns although they were classified as Scouts, which was synonymous with Pursuit at the time.
Although tested as a land plane, the S-4 was intended to be a seaplane and had longer wings than the similar S-3 to carry the weight or the floats.
A development of the S-3, the sole Curtiss S-6 was flown in 1917 with an unusual installation of twin Lewis guns above the cockpit.
The S-6 was slightly larger than the S-3 and was the first US Army single-seater to carry machine-guns.
Model S-3 (Model 10).
War-surplus Standard Aero Corporation Model J remodelled by Curtiss with JN-4B type nose and Curtiss OX-5 engine. The fuselage bears the former Army serial 22693 but the number on the rudder is 22677.
AEA Aerodrome No.4, the canard Silver Dart. was built at Hammondsport but did most of its flying in Nova Scotia, where it became the first aeroplane to fly in Canada.
A grim-visaged Glenn Curtiss sits in the Silver Dart. Note the belt-driven propeller and individual carburellors ror each cylinder of the 50 hp V-8 engine.
The AEA's third aircraft, the June Bug designed by Glenn Curtiss, won the Scientific American trophy for the first officially recorded flight of over a kilometre in the USA, accomplished by Curtiss on 4 July 1908.
A rare photograph of Glenn Curtiss' Loon (the June Bug on floats), which failed to become airborne during tests in 1908.
The first Curtiss aeroplane, the Golden Flyer built for the Aeronautical Society of New York.
Glenn Curtiss and Curtiss-Herring No.1, the aeroplane with which he won the 1909 Gordon Bennett Cup at Reims, France.
The Hudson Flyer in which Glenn Curtiss won $10,000 for a flight from Albany to New York City in May 1909. The extended upper wing supported the weight of the emergency flotation gear used for the 156-mile overwater flight
The Model E was a two-seater, but with only 40 hp, the US Army's Aeroplane No.6 of 1911 was rigged as a single-seater.
A true replica of a 1912 Curtiss pusher built by Glenn Curtiss and associates at Garden City after World War I. Powerplant was a war-surplus Curtiss OX-5.
Early Curtiss single-seat Model D.
An early Curtiss promotional effort resulted in pilot Eugene Ely making the first take off of an aeroplane from a ship, on 10 November, 1910. This is the second take off, made after landing on the uss Pennsylvania, on 18 January, 1911.
Triplane adaptation of Curtiss Model E with monoplane forward elevator
Famous acrobatic pilot Lincoln Beachey seated in his special Curtiss pusher fitted with standard controls, including shoulder-yoke for the ailerons.
aviatrix Ruth Law learned to fly on a Wright aeroplane and had to have this entirely difierent control system installed in her Curtiss.
Curtiss-Herring No.1 Reims Racer
The Ely monoplane was built to the special order of Curtiss exhibition pilot Eugene Ely and was not a true Curtiss design.
The Freak Boat of 1912 had such a small wing gap that the engine had to be mounted near the upper wing. After extensive modification, this machine was sold to the US Navy as C-1.
A later and more refined Curtiss flying-boat, known only as the Tadpole, taking off at Hammondsport.
The second Curtiss Model G, built for the US Army in 1913, was a great Improvement over the first but was still not a notable success; Curtiss had no previous experience with tractor-type landplanes.
Model G No.S.C.21
The Langley Aerodrome of 1903 as restored by Curtiss in 1914 with its original powerplant and propellers but with Curtiss-built pontoons.
This single-seat Model M was built in 1913 for Raymond V. Morris, a Curtiss employee, to use in his work.
The performance of the Model M as a monoplane was marginal so it was converted to a biplane in Curtiss's San Diego shops.
The first successful Curtiss tractor, the Model J of early 1914, was designed by B. Douglas Thomas, an experienced designer imported by Curtiss for that particular purpose.
The first aeroplane with a J designation was the JN-2 of 1915. The US Army bought eight with the equal-span two-aileron wings shown. The shoulder yoke for aileron control can be seen in the rear cockpit.
A JN-3 used by the Royal Naval Air Service in 1915-16. The four-blade propeller was not standard.
The N-8 was developed for the US Army. This is the prototype with its original long-span wings which were later removed.
The second N-8, with standard two-bay wings. The number 61 on the fuselage is the US Army serial; no national markings were in use at the time.
Final Model J.
One ol the latest Curtiss military tractor biplanes with a 160 h.p. Curtiss engine. The prototype Model R was essentially an enlarged and more powerful Model N. It had a single cockpit with two seats in tandem.
The Model R was also tested as a single-float seaplane.
The R-2A was an improved R with two separate cockpits. The front cockpit, beneath the upper wing, is seen covered.
The prototype Curtiss Twin JN was essentially a JN-4 enlarged to a twin-engined type. The propellers rotated in opposite directions.
Although delivered to the US Army in 1917 under the designation Twin JN, Serial No.428 appears to be an earlier and less refined design than the other Twin JNs.
Production twin JN.
In 1916 Curtiss built this Duck from the 1883 design of Alexander Goupil in his continuing effort to invalidate the Wright patent. It was first flown as a seaplane al Hammondsport.
The Goupil Duck was transferred to the Curtiss facility at Newport News and continued its flights there as a landplane.
The Curtiss C-1 Canada was built in Canada and America flying-boat wings were adapted for the landplane bomber. Struts bracing the upper wing overhang were added in Britain.
AEA Aerodrome No.2, While Wing. This was the first aeroplane to have a three-wheeled undercarriage.
The first successful Curtiss flying-boat was assembled and flown at Hammondsport using an old set of single-surface wings and a forward elevator.
Thc Curtiss McCormick flying-boat of 1914 was built as a tractor but was soon modified to have the engine at the rear and the pilots and passengers ahead of the wings.
The second Curtiss tractor landplane design was an aerobatic machine designed to the requirements ofexhibition pilot Lincoln Beachey. It was not a success and Beachey went elsewhere for a tractor.
The Loening-Milling biplane was not a Curtiss design but was built in the Curtiss shops at North Island and filled with a Curtiss Model S engine.
The Curtiss Autoplane of early 1917 had an automobile body with detachable wings from a Model L triplane.
Autoplane (Model 11).
The Model BA was intended as a replacement for the F-Boat. The designation was changed to BAT to distinguish the tractor version from the later pusher (BAP) configuratIon.
The BAP was the pusher version of the BAT and became the prototype for the later Model MF.
The BT was a flying lifeboat with the engine in the hull. Its wings could be jettisoned after alighting at sea, after which it proceeded as a motorboat
The BT was modified with external powerplant, as shown, and the jettisonable wing feature was discarded.
The CB Battleplane was Curtiss's attempt to replace the unsatisfactory Bristol with another Liberty-engined two-seat fighter.
Fitting Model L wings to a Model F hull to produce the Model FL is representative of Curtiss's method or developing new models quickly.
This 1916 pusher design has been identified as the Model G and has also been referred to as a Pusher R.
The GS-1 of late 1917 was the last of a Navy scout order and was completed as a triplane.
The first five Navy Gnome Scouts were completed as GS-2 biplanes; these were the only Curtiss aeroplanes designed from the start for rotary engines.
The first HS-1 was converted from twin-engined H-14; the letters HS stood fo a Model H with a single engine
The HS-2L had 12 ft greater wingspan than the HS-1L and four bays of outer wing struts instead of three. This one is in the postwar colours of grey hull, silver wings and tail, and yellow on the top surface of the upper wing.
The HS-3 was essentially the HS-2L with redesigned hull and vertical tail surfaces.
The PT-2 resulted from the US Naval Aircraft Factory fitting standard HS-2L wings to a conventional two-seat fuselage to create a twin-float torpedo plane.
Model HS-2L.
The Janin Patent Boat of 1918 was built to prove that the flying-boat patent issued to Albert Janin was unworkable.
The Judson Triplane of late 1916 was a development of the Model F into a larger and more powerful flyingboat
The L-1 was a refinement of the Model L.
The MF was the production version of the Model BAP and the letters stood for Modernized F. The Naval Aircraft Factory also built MFs.
The Curtiss Seagull was a civil version of the wartime MF flying-boat fitted with the 160 hp Curtiss C-6 engine.
Also designed by Thomas, the Model N was identical to the J except for wing details.
The Model O was either a new aeroplane or a redesignation of Model N when it was rebuilt as a side-by-side twoseater.
The R-2 had unequal span wings and integral ailerons. Number 71 is the US Army serial and the red star on the rudder was the earliest US Army aeroplane insignia.
R-4s were improved R-2sand were in production from 1916 into 1918. This is a special white-painted ambulance conversion with covered litter behind the cockpit.
In 1918 a number of R-4s were re-engined with the Liberty to become R-4Ls and some others were built as such.
The six R-4LMs were R-4Ls converted-to single-seat mail planes for the Post Office.
R-7 Curtiss Chicago-New York machine is an unconfirmed designation applied to this special aeroplane built for the New York Times in 1916. Practically an R 4 with an extra bay added to each wing. Span, 60 feet. Engine, 160 h.p. Curtiss.
This special singleseat aerobatic aircraft was built for Katherine Stinson by fitting a Model S triplane fuselage with new biplane wings.
The Model T triplane was too big to be assembled and flown at the Curtiss Buffalo plant so was shipped to Britain, where it was assembled and fitted with French Renault engines.
The Model X-1 was similar to the JN-4B except for nose details and the use of triplane wings.
Big sales were expected for the OX-5 powered Oriole after World War I, but the new design could not compete with cheap surplus models using the same engine.
Performance of the Oriole was improved by installing the 160 hp Curtiss C-6 engine and increasing the wing span by four feet. Earlier model did not have the sloping inner struts and rounded wingtips.
Orioles with clipped wings and uprated engines did well in stockplane races of the early 1920s. This one, flown by Curtiss Flying Service manager Casey Jones, introduced the wing surface radiators developed by Curtiss in 1922.
The Ireland Comet, erroneously referred to as Curtiss-Ireland Comet, was a short-wing Oriole with OX-5 engine fitted with new wings by G.S. Ireland in 1925. The wing roots were thinned to mate with the original Oriole fuselage and centre-section fittings.
The first Curtiss Eagle was a three-engined transport with 150 hp Curtiss K-6.
The second Eagle had two 400 hp Curtiss C-12 engines but made only one flight in that configuration.
The US Army bought three Eagles each fitted with single 400 hp Liberty engines. This one was specially equipped as an ambulance.
Single- and three-engined Eagle.
Curtiss won the 1920 order for fifty production models of the Orenco Model D that had been developed by the Ordnance Engineering Company in 1918.