Grover Loening and a Sturtevant

Grover Loening and Steve Mac Gordon with a Sturtevant biplane in 1916

This post centers on photos from Ivan's collection of an aircraft which I'm unable to identify with an exact model number, but Ivan's writing gave me enough information to discover a little more.

Grover Loening was an amazing figure in the aviation industry in America. He was the first American to earn a master's degree in aeronautical engineering, at Columbia University in 1910. In 1921 he earned the Collier Trophy, an annual award recognizing the greatest achievements in aviation, for his Loening Flying Yacht. He stayed active in aviation his entire life, eventually appointed as a civilian Advisory Board member to the National Air Museum under President Kennedy. A short write-up and photo featuring Steve Mac Gordon can be found here. Does anyone know the exact model of this Sturtevant airplane?

A Sturtevant biplane flown by Steve Mac Gordon takes off

The last photo impressed me in a couple of ways.  First, the amount of aileron travel seems huge to me.  I notice the elevator travel is sometimes in excess of 40 degrees, but I've never noticed the ailerons with this much travel.  Second, I notice in a couple of photos (which are upcoming) that they used a palette or skid of some sort to chock the wheels here at the Curtiss School.  Here, you can see a mechanic or pilot dragging one into place.  I wonder when the actual wheel chock was invented?

A Sturtevant biplane at the Curtiss School in 1916

Thanks in advance for any input on the Sturtevant, and please Share or +1 the blog with the links below.


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  1. Great photos Kurt. I will check around and see if I can turn up more information on this plane and email you on what I find. I hope you will not mind if I use the side view to work up a profile of the plane.

  2. Yes, of course you may, Will! Thanks for looking into it.

  3. Couldn't that palette have been intended to catch any oil dripping from the engine? Not so much to protect the grass below, but to show you on the next day how much oil had leaked from the engine.