Curtiss JN-4 Jenny (1915-1927)

Curtiss JN-4 Jenny


The Curtiss Jenny Biplane History
The Curtiss JN-4, designed by Benjamin D. Thomas, was a training aircraft supplied to the United States Army and the Royal Flying Corps. More commonly known as the ‘Jenny’ in the United States and the ‘Canuck’ in Canada, it was introduced in 1915 and went on to become one of North America’s most well known aircraft. The JN-4 improved on the earlier JN2 and JN3 models, with better construction and stability. These aircraft were predominantly built at the Curtiss factory in Buffalo, New York; however demand between late 1917 and early 1919 led to production being carried out by six different manufacturers. Variants of the JN-4 included the JN-4A, JN-4B, JN-4C, JN-4 (Canadian), JN-4D, JN-4D-2, JN-4H, JN-4HB, JN-4HG, JN-4HM, JN-4HT, JN-5H, JN-6, JN-6H, JN-6BH, JN-6HG-1, JN-6HG-2, JN-6HO, JN-6HP and the JNS.

The Curtiss Jenny Biplane in WW1
During WW1, the twin seated Curtiss Jenny was used, by the Americans and the British, to train many new pilots. With the student sitting in front of the instructor, and it’s dual controls, it was the ideal trainer. It also had good manoeuvrability, a ceiling height of 6,500 feet and a respectable speed of 75mph. Some Curtiss Jenny aircraft became the first air ambulances after being converted to carry stretchers, however no JN-4s fought in WW1.

The Curtiss Jenny Biplane Away From WW1
The Curtiss Jenny flew the first United States Air Mail in May, 1918, and appeared on a 1918 Air Mail postage stamp. One sheet of a hundred of these stamps was produced with the Jenny printed upside down. Known as the ‘Inverted Jenny’, it has become one of the rarest United States Post Office Department stamps with one specimen selling for $977,500 at an auction in 2007.

Following the end of WW1, thousands of Curtiss Jenny biplanes were sold to civilians. They were bought both commercially and privately with many being used for aerobatics and stunt flying in the ‘barnstorming’ era. Notable purchasers of the Curtiss Jenny included Charles Lindbergh. There are a number of airworthy Curtiss Jenny aircraft displayed in museums across the United States today, including a JN-4D in the Flying Heritage Collection, Everett, Washington, a JN-4C at the Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum in Maryland Heights, Missouri, and a JN-4H at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, Red Hook, New York.

Various scale models, model kits and plans of the Curtiss Jenny have been available in the market place.

Curtiss Jenny Biplane Specifications:

Curtiss Jenny Crew: Two
Curtiss Jenny
Length: 27ft 4in (8.33m)
Curtiss Jenny
Wingspan: 43ft 7¾in (13.3m)
Curtiss Jenny
Height: 9ft 10½in (3.01m)
Curtiss Jenny
Wing area: 352ft² (32.7 m²)
Curtiss Jenny
Empty weight: 1,390lb (630kg)
Curtiss Jenny
Max takeoff weight: 1,920lb (871kg)
Curtiss Jenny
Engine: Single Curtiss OX-5 V8 piston, 90 hp (67 kW)
Curtiss Jenny
Maximum speed: 75mph (121 km/h)
Curtiss Jenny
Endurance: 2h
Curtiss Jenny
Service ceiling: 6,500ft (2,000m)

Curtiss Jenny Biplane Armament:

These aircraft were generally unarmed, although some were fitted with bomb racks and machine guns for more advanced training.

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