Лодка эта строилась с целью осуществления перелета через Атлантику и получения приза в 10 тысяч фунтов стерлингов, установленного английской газетой "Дейли Мейл". Однако с началом мировой войны перелет отменили. Два самолета с двигателями "Кертисс" OX-5 мощностью до 90 л. с. были закуплены британским Адмиралтейством для RNAS. Двенадцать следующих машин были доставлены в Англию без двигателей, а на первых двух машинах к двум толкающим двигателям OX-5 добавили еще один тянущий. На британской базе Феликстоу на самолеты устанавливали либо два 6-цилиндровых, жидкостного охлаждения, рядных двигателя "Бердмор" по 120л. с., либо два 10-цилиндровых, воздушного охлаждения, звездообразных "Анзани" по 100 л. с., либо два 12-цилиндровых, жидкостного охлаждения, рядных, V-образных "Санбим" по 150л. с. Эти машины получили обозначение Н-4 "Америка". Конструкция лодки была цельнодеревянная, с фанерной обшивкой. Эти самолеты одними из первых зарубежных машин получили закрытую комфортабельную кабину. Лодка была слабокилеватая с сильно развитыми скулами. Крыло двухлонжеронное, изготавливалось из дерева и обтягивалось полотном. Развитые элероны устанавливались на верхнем крыле. Для обеспечения необходимой жесткости над верхним крылом устанавливались шпренгели. Оперение обычного типа, с килем и стабилизатором, поднятым над лодкой на стойках и растяжках. Руль поворота имел роговую компенсацию. Двигатели устанавливались на металлических стойках между крыльями. В зависимости от мощности двигательной установки самолеты могли нести от 90 до 180 кг бомб. Командование, пользуясь способностью машины более 16 часов находиться в воздухе, использовало ее для борьбы с немецкими подводными лодками. Самолеты с 90-100-сильными двигателями получили название "Америка 950", ас 150-160-сильными - "Америка Импрувд". В конце 1915 года Адмиралтейство заказало еще 50 машин, так как полученных ранее не хватало. После того как в 1917 году фирма выпустила более крупный самолет H-12, а затем и H-16, названные "Ладж Америка" (большая Америка), самолеты Н-4 стали называть "Смолл Америка" (маленькая Америка). Не дожидаясь получения самолетов из Америки, англичане на базе "Феликстоу" наладили выпуск лодок по образцу Н-4. Самолеты эти получили обозначение Феликстоу F.1 (было построено 8 машин). Всего на британском флоте эксплуатировалось 70 машин Н-4, из них 62 построены фирмой "Кертисс". Эти машины были заказаны и для российского флота, но получены были только две штуки, одна из которых была разбита при сдаточных испытаниях.
Показатель Кертисс Н-4, 1914г.
размах крыльев 23,09
максимальный взлетный 2260
Двигатель: "Кертисс" OX-5
число х мощность, л.с. 2x100
Скорость, км/ч 97
Дальность полета, км 1160
Экипаж, чел. 3
Вооружение 108 кг бомб
P.Bowers Curtiss Aircraft 1907-1947 (Putnam)
Model H America. The Model H twin-engined flying-boat originated at the request of Rodman Wanamaker, wealthy owner of department stores in New York and Philadelphia, who sought to win the ?10,000 (then 50,000 US dollars) prize offered by the British newspaper The Daily Mail for the first aerial crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. The Curtiss organization was the logical one to develop the required aeroplane, which the patriotic Mr Wanamaker had already named America, and an order for two machines was placed in August 1913.
In form, the Model H followed the layout of previous Curtiss flying-boats, but it was enlarged in order to carry the fuel needed for a flight of 1,100 miles, the longest leg of the proposed transatlantic flight, and had two 90 hp Curtiss OX engines mounted as pushers. To increase their comfort, the two pilots and the mechanic were seated in an enclosed cabin. The wings, with two bays of struts on each outer panel, had tapered ailerons built into the upper wing, which also had a large overhang. The wings, which became the pattern for subsequent multi-engined flying-boats and their British-built counterparts for the coming war years, were designed by B. Douglas Thomas. Thomas was assisted to a considerable degree by another Briton, Lt John C. Porte, then on leave from the Royal Navy, who was selected by Wanamaker to pilot the America.
Since the Wright patent suit was active at the time, Curtiss sought to avoid duplicating certain details of the Wright system. The ailerons were hooked up so that only one worked at a time, one being pulled down by the action of the pilot's foot instead of both being moved in opposite directions by a control wheel. The wheel control was used to operate the rudder.
Following naming ceremonies on 22 June, 1914, the America began an extensive test programme. One of the early troubles was the tendency of the bow to submerge as power was applied to the engines. The high thrust-line of the engines applying forward force and the water drag on the hull acting in the opposite direction created a downward force on the bow. This phenomenon had not been significant in the past because of the relatively low power available in the smaller single-engined flying-boats.
The need for more forward buoyancy in the hull was met first by adding planing surfaces to the sides of the hull forward of the step. These were soon replaced by additional structures that Curtiss called 'fins' attached to each side of the hull, above the chines, that increased the volume and buoyancy of the hull as well as adding planing area. This Curtiss-developed feature was to be used on many other flying-boats into the 1930s but were called sponsons rather than fins.
With its take off problems solved, the America still could not carry the required fuel load for the distance, and the lifting capacity was then increased by adding a third engine to the top of the wing in a tractor position.
With the America finally considered to be ready, the oft-postponed flight was scheduled for 5 August, 1914, with Lt Porte as pilot. The starting point was to be St John's, Newfoundland, with intermediate stops at Fayal and San Miguel in the Azores and on to Portugal. Crews had actually been dispatched to some of these points when the flight was cancelled by the outbreak of what was to become the Great War, or World War 1 to later historians.
Lt Porte was recalled to duty in the United Kingdom and was able to persuade the Admiralty to purchase the America and its sister ship. These were to become the prototypes of a long line of twin-engined biplane flying-boats that would serve Britain and the US Navy well into World War II. The original America, in fact, gave its name to the class, and later developments up to H-16 sold to Britain became known as Small Americas and Large Americas.
Model H America
Span 74 ft (22,55 m) upper, 46 ft (14 m) lower; length 37 ft 6 in (11,43 m); height 16 ft (4,87 m).
Empty weight 3,000 lb (1,360 kg); gross weight 5,000 lb (2,268 kg).
Maximum speed 65 mph (104,6 km/h); range 1,100 miles (1,770 km).
Powerplant two 90 hp Curtiss OX.
RNAS serial numbers: 950, 951 (Curtiss prototypes), 1228/1235 (8, Aircraft Manufacturing Co, UK), 1236/1239 (4, Curtiss), 3545/3594 (50, Curtiss).
Model H Series (Model 6)
The Curtiss twin-engined flying-boat line that started with the America in 1914 continued into 1918 with designations in the H-series up to H-16. Only seven of the designations from H to H-16 are known to have been carried by existing aircraft. In the 1935 system, Model 6 applied to H-4, 6, 7,8, and 10, but details are not available.
Until the introduction of the H-12, the only customer was Britain's Royal Naval Air Service. Curtiss's lead in large flying-boat development was a notable exception to the state of American aviation in the 1915-17 period, when European designs made great advances under the stimulation of war requirements while America, isolated from these developments, fell farther and farther behind.
Even so, the design of the Curtiss hulls demonstrated notable structural and hydrodynamic deficiencies in British wartime service. Late in 1915, Lt Porte, now back in uniform, designed and built improved hulls and fitted them with standard Curtiss wings and tails. The improvements proved desirable, and the F-series of large flying-boats was produced with the new hulls and British-built Curtiss wings to become the standard patrol/bomber flying-boat of the RNAS and the later Royal Air Force. The final F-5 model was to be built in the United States by Curtiss in 1918 in parallel with Curtiss's own Model H-16.
H-4 (Model 6) - The designation H-4 was assigned to the original America after modification in Britain. Subsequent production versions were identified in RNAS service as the Small Americas. As built by Curtiss, the powerplants were two 90 hp Curtiss OX installed as tractors. These were not favoured by the RNAS, which substituted ten-cylinder 100 hp French Anzani air-cooled radial engines or two 130 hp British Clerget rotary engines for the water-cooled Curtiss types.
Curtiss built sixty-two H-4s including the prototypes and another eight were built in the United Kingdom by the Aircraft Manufacturing Company (Airco) and Saunders.
RNAS serial numbers: 882, 883, 950, 951,1232/1239 (Built by Aircraft Manufacturing Company and Saunders),3454/3594.
H-8 - No data available other than published photographs that show it to be a twin pusher slightly smaller than the America and powered with the same Curtiss OX engines.
H-10 - A twin-engined flying-boat larger than the H-8 and having the Curtiss OX engines installed as tractors. On the H-10, two booms were used to connect the engine nacelles to the horizontal tail.
H-14 - The H-14 was a smaller twin-engined flying-boat than the H-12 and reverted to the pusher engine arrangement of the original America. The US Army ordered sixteen examples, serial numbers 396/411, before the prototype was completed late in 1916. This did not come up to expectations and work on the Army machines was halted.
In mid-1917, the prototype was converted to a single-engined type with 200 hp Curtiss V-X-3 engine and was redesignated HS-1 (H-model with single engine). The Army having cancelled its order, the sixteen former H-14s were completed for the Navy in the HS-1 configuration and delivered with Navy serial numbers A800/A815 and new Liberty engines that resulted in the designation HS-1L.
Powerplant two 100 hp Curtiss OXX-2.
Span 55 ft 9 5/32 in (16,99 m)(upper), 45 ft 9 5/32 in (13,94 m) (lower); length 38 ft 6 5/8 in (11,75 m); wing area 576 sq ft (53,51 sq m).
Empty weight 3,130 lb (1,420 kg); gross weight 4,230 lb (1,919 kg).
Maximum speed 65 mph (104,6 km/h); climb 2,000 ft (610 m) in 10 min.
O.Thetford British Naval Aircraft since 1912 (Putnam)
Curtiss H.4 Small America
The H.4 was the first of the Curtiss flying-boats acquired from the USA to enter service with the RNAS. The firm of Curtiss had been the first to produce a successful flying-boat, which flew on 12 January 1912, and in the following year a British agency for Curtiss boats was acquired by the White and Thompson Company of Bognor, Sussex. It was in this way that John Porte, whose name is synonymous with the development of flying-boats for the RNAS during the First World War, first came into contact with Curtiss types and soon afterwards joined the parent company in the USA, for in 1913 he was the White and Thompson Company's test pilot.
If the World War had not intervened, John Porte was to have flown the Atlantic in a flying-boat named America. In the event, he re-joined the RNAS as a squadron commander in August 1914 and persuaded the Admiralty to purchase two Curtiss flying-boats (Nos.950 and 951), which were delivered in November 1914. These boats were tried out at Felixstowe air station and were followed by 62 production aircraft, four of which (Nos.1228 to 1231) were built in Britain. Curtiss supplied an initial batch of eight (Nos.1232 to 1239) and a second of 50 (Nos.3545 to 3594). The entire series was given the official designation H.4 and acquired the name Small America, retrospectively, after the introduction later of the larger H.12, or Large America.
Despite numerous deficiencies such as poor seaworthiness, the H.4 boats saw operational service. More important, however, was the contribution they made to the evolution of flying-boats generally as a result of the experiments they underwent at the hands of John Porte, a designer and innovator of genius. The H.4s so employed were Nos.950, 1230, 1231,3545,3546 (the 'Incidence Boat'), 3569 and 3580. Various hulls and planing bottoms were tried to improve take-off and alighting characteristics. This knowledge was put to good use in the later Curtiss and Felixstowe flying-boats.
A few H.4 flying-boats were still in service as late as June 1918 when, it is recorded, Nos.1232, 1233 and 1235 were at Killingholme coastal air station.
TECHNICAL DATA (CURTISS H.4)
Description: Reconnaissance flying-boat with a crew of four. Wooden structure with wood and fabric covering.
Manufacturers: Curtiss Aeroplanes and Motors Corporation, Buffalo, Hammondsport. NY. Sub-contracted by Aircraft Manufacturing Co in Great Britain.
Power Plant: Variously, two 90 hp Curtiss, two 100 hp Curtiss, two 150 hp Sunbeam or two 100 hp Anzani.
Dimensions: Span, 72 ft 0 in. Length, 36 ft 0 in. Height, 16 ft 0 in.
Weights: Empty, 2,992 lb. Loaded, 4,983 lb.
Pelformance: Not available.
Armament: Flexibly-mounted machine-gun in bows and light bombs below the wings.
Flight, June 26, 1914.
THE TRANS-ATLANTIC FLIGHT.
LIEUTENANT PORTE'S NEW ROUTE.
THE Curtiss flying boat, "America," on which Lieutenant J. C. Porte, R.N., proposes to attempt the flight across the Atlantic, is now finished, and has been erected at Hammondsport, N.Y. Preliminary tests are being made over Lake Keuka, the first, in which the machine carried Lieut. Porte, Mr. Hallett, the mechanic, and Mr. Glenn Curtiss, being made on Tuesday and giving the results expected. If the tests justify anticipations, the machine will be dismantled and sent to St. John's, Newfoundland, to await favourable weather, and it is hoped to start on July 15th or 16th. The original plan, it will be remembered, was to take the direct route from Newfoundland to the Irish coast, but this has now been abandoned, and Lieut. Porte and his companion will set their course for the Azores, whence they will proceed to the coast of Spain. Arrived here they will follow the steamship route as far north as Ushant, a small island off the cost of Normandy, and from here it is intended to set the course for England.
By adopting this route, the greatest distance to be covered is approximately 1,200 miles between Newfoundland and the Azores, and Lieut. Porte feels confident that the two Curtiss engines will be able to stand up to a run of sufficient duration to complete this distance. In their tests on the bench, under conditions approximating as near as possible to those of actual flight, the two motors have completed 30-hour non-stop runs.
The principal difficulties which the trip presents are navigational ones, and to solve these Lieut. Porte has had the best expert assistance. It is understood that he may possibly have the advantage of the assistance of Capt. Creagh-Osborne, R.N., in the adjustment of his compasses and other navigational problems, as this officer, who is Superintendent of the Compass Department at the Admiralty, will be on leave of absence in Canada, and has accepted an invitation from Lieut. Porte to inspect the Curtiss flying-boat and witness the start at St. John's should his other engagements allow of it. It is hoped that the Washington Meteorological Office will render most valuable assistance in enabling the start to be made at the right moment, and all experts who have been consulted admit that Lieut. Porte, in choosing the route that he has selected, has adopted the course most likely to have the greatest number of factors in his favour.
A possible opportunity for a favourable start from Newfoundland would be afforded by a large high-pressure area south of latitude 40° N., and a constant succession of shallow cyclonic systems travelling eastwards north of that latitude, advantage being taken of the north-west wind in the rear of one of these, and the welt wind on the north side of the high-pressure system to start for the Azores, trusting to a south-west wind to assist on the eastern side of the Atlantic, due to the presence of a low-pressure system in that section. A start cannot be made with any prospect of success unless some such conditions prevail.
The machine to be used for the trip will not, as originally intended, be a tractor biplane with a single 200 h.p. Curtiss engine, but a large flying boat somewhat similar in its general arrangement to the standard type Curtiss. Pilot and passenger will be accommodated in a roomy cockpit entirely covered in and fitted with sliding windows for purposes of observation and ventilation. Behind the two seats, which are arranged side by side, will be the sleeping quarters furnished with a mattress on which the pilot and his passenger may in turn lie down to have a rest, and which will moreover serve as a floating "raft" in case of accidents.
The dual control will be slightly different from the standard Curtiss control, which, it will be recalled, consists of a rotatable handwheel for steering, a to-and-fro movement for the elevator, and a shoulder yoke for the ailerons. As the trans-Atlantic machine has very large ailerons, it has been thought inadvisable to employ the yoke, which imposes a considerable strain on the pilot's shoulders, and in its stead a pivoted foot-bar is fitted, by means of which the ailerons are operated. Rudder and elevator are controlled by means of a rotatable wheel on a rocking column.
The boat itself is more or less of the usual Curtiss type, but has been more carefully streamlined in order to reduce head resistance. In spite of its large size - it has an overall length of 32 ft. and a beam of 4 ft. - the hull is very light, weighing only about 550 lbs. It is built up of a framework of ash and spruce covered with a planking of cedar 1/4 inch thick, which is coated with oiled canvas. The wings, in addition to being much larger than those of the standard type Curtiss - the span of the upper plane is 72 ft. and that of the lower plane 46 ft., whilst the chord is 7 ft. - are of a different section, being of a curvature similar to the N.P.L. section, which is expected to considerably increase the efficiency.
Instead of the single 200 h.p. engine which it was originally the intention to use and which was actually constructed, two Curtiss engines of the type known as the O.X., each of 100 h.p., will be employed. Each engine will drive a single propeller of 8 ft. diameter. The total weight of the machine in flying trim is stated to be 5,000 lbs., divided up in the following manner: Fuel, 2,000 lbs., made up of 300 gallons of petrol, and 25 gallons of oil; hull, 550 lbs.; pilot and passenger, 300 lbs.; engines, wings, tanks, and supplies, 2,150 lbs.
In the accompanying map is shown the route which will be followed, and the various distances that have to be covered. It will be noticed that for a considerable portion of the first stage, from Newfoundland to the Azores, the route will intercept numerous steamship routes, so that on this part of the journey at any rate the ntervals between sighting ships should not be very long. It is hoped that captains of vessels will render assistance by flying the following signals to indicate on which side of the aviator's route they are :-
When on the north side of the route fly the following signals from the foremast:
If 90 miles to 60 miles from route, fly square flag, ball, square flag.
If 60 miles to 30 miles from route, fly square flag, square flag.
If 30 miles to o miles from route, fly square flag.
When on the south side of the route the same signals are to be flown, but from the mainmast.
Flight, May 10, 1917.
THE "TOTALLY ENCLOSED" AEROPLANE.
ALTHOUGH the seaplane as a type, lends itself extremely well to closing in the occupants, it was not until 1914 that any serious attempt was made to provide the "totally enclosed" feature on a seaplane of the flying boat type. Shortly before war broke out Lieut. Porte, R.N., now a Commander in the R.N.A.S., it may be remembered, contemplated a flight across the Atlantic in the Curtiss flying boat, "America." In view of the duration of the trip it was deemed advisable to protect the pilot and passenger as much as possible against the weather, and to this end a cabin-like superstructure was added to the main hull of the machine. The latter was a biplane flying boat with two Curtiss motors placed on Vee struts between the wings. The upper plane had a span of 74 ft., and the overall length of the machine was 34 ft. Fully loaded the weight was about 5,000 lbs., and the speed somewhere in the neighbourhood of 65 m.p.h.
Owing to the great depth of the boat itself the cabin walls only projected some 18 inches above the deck, and yet the distance from the floor boards to the roof of the cabin was about 5 ft., so that by stooping slightly the occupants were able to move about in the cabin with comparative freedom. Since the machine was to have been flown over stretches of sea where meeting other machines were scarcely to be expected, the windows did not extend very far behind the pilot's seat, those curving round in front being the most important. Access to the cabin was through a hatch that could be closed once the machine was on her way, and through which, if necessary, the passenger might reach the engine to make any adjustments. Should the machine come down low enough to make signals to passing ships, the passenger would have to lean over the gunwales by the hatch as the windows in the cabin did not provide a view in a downward direction.