Curtiss Model E Flying Boat (hull only)

In 1911, Glenn Curtiss was awarded the prestigious Collier Trophy for the development of the hydroaeroplane, a land airplane mounted on floats. In 1913, Curtiss developed the first practical and highly successful flying boat, the Model E, with the entire fuselage being a hull rather than mounting the aircraft on floats. The later Model F perfected the flying boat design with the incorporation of a V hull, supplanting the less efficient flat-bottomed hull of the Model E.

Among the Curtiss Model E Flying Boats produced in 1913 was one sold to Logan A. "Jack" Vilas of Chicago. Vilas' Model E was powered by a 90-horsepower Curtiss OX engine. With this aircraft, Vilas made the first crossing of Lake Michigan, flying from St. Joseph, Michigan, to Grant Park on Chicago's waterfront in July 1913. Vilas donated the hull of his Model E Flying Boat to the Smithsonian Institution in 1949. Nothing else of the aircraft survives.

Gift of Logan A. "Jack" Vilas.

Physical Description:
Hull of a Curtiss Model E Flying Boat. Full-size aircraft was a single-engine, two-seat, biplane with a pusher engine mounted above and behind the pilot between the wings; 90-horsepower Curtiss OX V8 engine. Dark green finish.

Country of Origin
United States of America

Manufacturer
Curtiss Aeroplane Company

Date
1913

Location
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly, VA
Exhibit Station
Pre-1920 Aviation

Type
CRAFT-Aircraft

Materials
Overall: Wood
Dimensions
Wingspan: 12.2 m (40 ft)
Length: 7.9 m (26 ft)
Height: 3.4 m (11 ft)
Weight: Empty, 677 kg (1,490 lb)
Gross, 860 kg (1,890 lb)

Glenn H. Curtiss is considered the "Father of the Flying Boat," having developed the first practical and highly successful flying boat in 1913. His interest in aircraft that could operate from water was spurred almost as soon as he entered the nascent field of aeronautics. In 1911, Curtiss was awarded the prestigious Collier Trophy for the development of the hydroaeroplane (a land airplane mounted on floats) and he won the Trophy again the following year in recognition of his continued refinement of the design. In 1913, the Smithsonian Institution bestowed its Langley Medal upon Curtiss for these contributions to flight.

In January 1911 Curtiss flew one of his standard Model D pusher biplanes fitted with floats from the waters off San Diego, California. He later modified this airplane with the addition of wingtip floats for lateral balance. This aircraft was the basis of the early Curtiss Model E hydroaeroplane.

In 1911, Curtiss offered his standard Model E land airplane with engines ranging from a 40-horsepower four-cylinder to a 75-horsepower V8. The 75-horsepower version was also offered as a hydroaeroplane. Floats for the hydro version weighed 125 pounds and could be installed by trained mechanics in two hours.

The first airplane purchased by the U.S. Navy was a Curtiss Model E hydroaeroplane and was given the Navy designation A-1 in early 1911. The Navy purchased a second Model E in July 1911, with a more powerful 80-horsepower Curtiss OX engine, and designated it the A-2. It was also known as the OWL, standing for Over Water and Land. Modifications of the A-2 by the Navy led to re-designations of E-1 and later AX-1. These modifications, done at the Curtiss plant at Hammondsport, New York, included moving the seats from the lower wing to the float and enclosing the crew area with a fabric-covered framework, giving the aircraft the appearance of a short-hull flying boat.

The OWL, with its modified float, was developed into a true flying boat (the entire fuselage being a hull as opposed to mounting the aircraft on a separate float) by Curtiss in 1912, first with the Model D Flying Boat, and then a refined version, the Model E. The Model E Flying Boat was the first truly practical flying boat. It was powered by either a 60- or a 75-horsepower Curtiss V8 engine. Both the U.S. Army and Navy purchased Curtiss Model E Flying Boats, the Navy designating it the C-1.

The most successful version of the pre-war Curtiss flying boats was the Model F, which was produced in far greater numbers than any of the other models. It was offered in many variants and continued in production until 1919. The Navy designated it the C-2. The Model F perfected the flying boat design with the incorporation of a V hull, supplanting the less efficient flat-bottomed hull of the Model E. The Model F was well received by U.S. military and civilian markets, and with the onset of the First World War, Curtiss enjoyed substantial success abroad as well with sales of the Model F to England, Germany, France, Italy, Russia, and Japan.

During the course of his hydroaeroplane and flying boat development, Glenn Curtiss incorporated design innovations that made the seaplane a practical reality, beginning with the enclose hull, covered with fabric for strength and water tightness. Curtiss, with assistance from Royal Navy engineer Lt. John Cyril Porte, further enhanced the ability of waterborne aircraft to get off the water by constructing a mid-way "step" on the bottom of the float or hull. Water has adhesive qualities, especially when running over a curved surface, and early seaplanes had difficulty getting "unstuck" from the water, especially in calm seas. The addition of the step helped break up the water flow under the hull enabling the flying boat to get airborne more easily. Curtiss also added breather tubes to the flying boat hull. These were small copper tubes that ran from the inside of the hull to the undersurface step to relieve the low pressure under the hull and assisted the aircraft in becoming airborne.

Among the Curtiss Model E Flying Boats produced in 1913 was one sold to Logan A. "Jack" Vilas of Chicago. Vilas' Model E was powered by a 90-horsepower Curtiss OX engine. With this aircraft, Vilas made the first crossing of Lake Michigan, flying from St. Joseph, Michigan, to Grant Park on Chicago's waterfront in July 1913. Vilas donated the hull of his Model E Flying Boat to the Smithsonian Institution in 1949. Nothing else of the aircraft survives.

In 1911, Glenn Curtiss was awarded the prestigious Collier Trophy for the development of the hydroaeroplane, a land airplane mounted on floats. In 1913, Curtiss developed the first practical and highly successful flying boat, the Model E, with the entire fuselage being a hull rather than mounting the aircraft on floats. The later Model F perfected the flying boat design with the incorporation of a V hull, supplanting the less efficient flat-bottomed hull of the Model E.

Among the Curtiss Model E Flying Boats produced in 1913 was one sold to Logan A. "Jack" Vilas of Chicago. Vilas' Model E was powered by a 90-horsepower Curtiss OX engine. With this aircraft, Vilas made the first crossing of Lake Michigan, flying from St. Joseph, Michigan, to Grant Park on Chicago's waterfront in July 1913. Vilas donated the hull of his Model E Flying Boat to the Smithsonian Institution in 1949. Nothing else of the aircraft survives.

Gift of Logan A. "Jack" Vilas.

Physical Description:
Hull of a Curtiss Model E Flying Boat. Full-size aircraft was a single-engine, two-seat, biplane with a pusher engine mounted above and behind the pilot between the wings; 90-horsepower Curtiss OX V8 engine. Dark green finish.

Country of Origin
United States of America

Manufacturer
Curtiss Aeroplane Company

Date
1913

Location
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly, VA
Exhibit Station
Pre-1920 Aviation

Type
CRAFT-Aircraft

Materials
Overall: Wood
Dimensions
Wingspan: 12.2 m (40 ft)
Length: 7.9 m (26 ft)
Height: 3.4 m (11 ft)
Weight: Empty, 677 kg (1,490 lb)
Gross, 860 kg (1,890 lb)

Glenn H. Curtiss is considered the "Father of the Flying Boat," having developed the first practical and highly successful flying boat in 1913. His interest in aircraft that could operate from water was spurred almost as soon as he entered the nascent field of aeronautics. In 1911, Curtiss was awarded the prestigious Collier Trophy for the development of the hydroaeroplane (a land airplane mounted on floats) and he won the Trophy again the following year in recognition of his continued refinement of the design. In 1913, the Smithsonian Institution bestowed its Langley Medal upon Curtiss for these contributions to flight.

In January 1911 Curtiss flew one of his standard Model D pusher biplanes fitted with floats from the waters off San Diego, California. He later modified this airplane with the addition of wingtip floats for lateral balance. This aircraft was the basis of the early Curtiss Model E hydroaeroplane.

In 1911, Curtiss offered his standard Model E land airplane with engines ranging from a 40-horsepower four-cylinder to a 75-horsepower V8. The 75-horsepower version was also offered as a hydroaeroplane. Floats for the hydro version weighed 125 pounds and could be installed by trained mechanics in two hours.

The first airplane purchased by the U.S. Navy was a Curtiss Model E hydroaeroplane and was given the Navy designation A-1 in early 1911. The Navy purchased a second Model E in July 1911, with a more powerful 80-horsepower Curtiss OX engine, and designated it the A-2. It was also known as the OWL, standing for Over Water and Land. Modifications of the A-2 by the Navy led to re-designations of E-1 and later AX-1. These modifications, done at the Curtiss plant at Hammondsport, New York, included moving the seats from the lower wing to the float and enclosing the crew area with a fabric-covered framework, giving the aircraft the appearance of a short-hull flying boat.

The OWL, with its modified float, was developed into a true flying boat (the entire fuselage being a hull as opposed to mounting the aircraft on a separate float) by Curtiss in 1912, first with the Model D Flying Boat, and then a refined version, the Model E. The Model E Flying Boat was the first truly practical flying boat. It was powered by either a 60- or a 75-horsepower Curtiss V8 engine. Both the U.S. Army and Navy purchased Curtiss Model E Flying Boats, the Navy designating it the C-1.

The most successful version of the pre-war Curtiss flying boats was the Model F, which was produced in far greater numbers than any of the other models. It was offered in many variants and continued in production until 1919. The Navy designated it the C-2. The Model F perfected the flying boat design with the incorporation of a V hull, supplanting the less efficient flat-bottomed hull of the Model E. The Model F was well received by U.S. military and civilian markets, and with the onset of the First World War, Curtiss enjoyed substantial success abroad as well with sales of the Model F to England, Germany, France, Italy, Russia, and Japan.

During the course of his hydroaeroplane and flying boat development, Glenn Curtiss incorporated design innovations that made the seaplane a practical reality, beginning with the enclose hull, covered with fabric for strength and water tightness. Curtiss, with assistance from Royal Navy engineer Lt. John Cyril Porte, further enhanced the ability of waterborne aircraft to get off the water by constructing a mid-way "step" on the bottom of the float or hull. Water has adhesive qualities, especially when running over a curved surface, and early seaplanes had difficulty getting "unstuck" from the water, especially in calm seas. The addition of the step helped break up the water flow under the hull enabling the flying boat to get airborne more easily. Curtiss also added breather tubes to the flying boat hull. These were small copper tubes that ran from the inside of the hull to the undersurface step to relieve the low pressure under the hull and assisted the aircraft in becoming airborne.

Among the Curtiss Model E Flying Boats produced in 1913 was one sold to Logan A. "Jack" Vilas of Chicago. Vilas' Model E was powered by a 90-horsepower Curtiss OX engine. With this aircraft, Vilas made the first crossing of Lake Michigan, flying from St. Joseph, Michigan, to Grant Park on Chicago's waterfront in July 1913. Vilas donated the hull of his Model E Flying Boat to the Smithsonian Institution in 1949. Nothing else of the aircraft survives.

ID: A19490022000