Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Thirsty Jennys

Note: Starting today, we will be occasionally be making mid-week updates featuring images from "guest" archive collections. Today's post is the first of several generously provided by Mojave Transportation Museum Director Cathy Hansen.

Two U.S. Army Jennys getting fueled. Clearly, both aircraft and fuel trucks
have come a long way in the intervening years!
Modern civil aviation is what it is in part thanks to the Curtiss JN-4, which was affectionately know as the Jenny. Glen Curtiss hired Sopwith designer Benjamin Thomas to develop the aircraft, taking the best features of their previous J model and N model trainers. First flown in 1915, the JN-4's docile handling qualities made it an ideal platform for beginner pilot training. Over 6,800 of the type were eventually built, with 95% of all American WWI pilots getting their initial training in the type.

With the end of the war, the Army sold off much of their surplus stock of Jennys to the civilian market, many still unassembled in their original crates. With so many cheap planes on the market, aviation thrived, and the era of the barnstormer was born. Numerous people fell in love with flying after their first airplane ride in a Jenny, and subsequently took flying lessons. Even Charles Lindbergh first soloed in a Jenny, and his plane is one of about 50 that have survived into the 21st Century (Lindbergh's Jenny is housed at the Cradle of Aviation Museum).

No comments:

Post a Comment