Scenes from the Curtiss School

Curtiss School aka Atlantic Coast Aeronautical Station, 1916

I think I've been misstating the name of this place.  I've been seeing it referred to as the Curtiss School, and the Atlantic Coast Aeronautical Station, but not as a factory.  Ivan referred to it as the Curtiss Company.  I think the two that fit most closely are school and station.  According to the Aero Club's publication in 1915, (Flying vol 4) they explained that the Atlantic Coast Aeronautical Station already set up a base to expand aviation in the area, and Curtiss partnered with them.

According to the article, Curtiss planned to send Bert Acosta and Victor Carlstrom to teach students on "land machines", while Walter Lees and Victor Vernon would instruct on "water machines".  Curtiss planned to send four Model F flying boats, three JN's, and one Model 3.  In the photos I've seen, there is at least one J.N., at least two Model Fs, an at least 2 variants of Model Rs.  Curtiss also used the station as a test facility, where the Speed Scout  (as you can see in the above photo) and twin J.N. were flown.

So, Ivan flew with Walter Lees exclusively in the Model F, and I count just shy of 30 lessons with Lees and close to 120 landings from his logbook.  He was at the school from early April, 1916 to at least June 28th, which is his last logbook entry there.  He wrote there that he "flew alone for Curtiss Diploma.  Lees let me do all flying.  Take off, 5 figure 8s and one landing".  His logbook shows a tad over seven hours instruction with Lees.  Total time of instruction to the point his earned the diploma was 14 hours, 24 minutes.  Note that he didn't solo in the plane, he really just got a checkride.  His logs don't show a truly solo flight until September of 1916.  I'll post his diploma at the end of the section on Newport News.

Here are a couple of photos of Model Fs, and JNs.  The first JNs that appear in his books are 4b models, but not at the Curtiss school.

A pair of Curtiss Model F flying boats at Newport News, 1916

A Curtiss Model F lands at Newport News, Virginia in 1916

Just a little question on this JN.  Actually two: What model is this, and is there something interesting going on with the ailerons?  Leave me a comment, I'm really curious here.  Actually the same thing applies to the Model F in the second photo, but I never noticed it in the Palm Beach photos.

A Curtiss JN 4 at Newport News, Virginia in 1916

I'm not seeing the same thing on this JN's ailerons.  Strange.  This is one of my favorite photos of a Jenny in Ivan's collection.

A Curtiss JN 4 at Newport News, Virginia in 1916

Next post, I'll put up a number of aerial photos of the Curtiss School.


1 comment:

  1. Although huge effort have been done by aviation historians like Robert Casari and Peter M. Bowers to identify the whole Curtiss aviation output, there are still quite a lot of 'black holes'.

    Your last picture is clear though as it shows one of the few Curtiss N-8 biplanes bought by the US Army in April 1915. Do note that the machine on the picture is the prototype, which has a three-bay wing configuration, which was later reduced to a two-bay configuration.

    The Curtiss N-series were independently produced from the Curtiss JN-series.

    Will look at your other Curtiss biplane picture, the side view.

    More info in Peter M. Bowers (1979). Curtiss aircraft 1907-1947. page 111