In 1917, during World War I, the United States Navy set out specifications for a flying boat of sufficient range to cross the Atlantic by air to Great Britain, where it would serve as an antisubmarine patrol aircraft. The Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company, in conjunction with the Navy, developed a three-engine aircraft to meet these specifications. The first of the new aircraft, NC-1, first flew on 4 October 1918, followed by NC-2 on 12 April 1919 with four engines in tandem pairs. By this time the War had ended but the Navy decided to continue the program in an effort to make the first transatlantic crossing by air. NC-3 and NC-4 reverted to the three-engine format, although NC-4 had a fourth engine mounted as a pusher behind the center engine. On 16 May 1919, NC-1, NC-3, and NC-4 assembled at Trepassy Bay, Newfoundland under the command of John H. Towers, to begin the 1,400 mile flight to the Azores. NC-1 was forced down short of the island and sank, although the crew was rescued by Naval vessels stationed along the flight path. NC-3 landed two hundred miles short and taxied the remaining distance to the island. NC-4 completed the flight successfully, reaching Plymouth, England via Lisbon on 31 May 1919. Following publicity tours of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States, NC-4 was handed over to the Smithsonian Institution and is a part of the National Air and Space Museum collection.
This collection consists of reports on the design, construction, and testing of the NC series flying boats and photographs of NC-4's construction and transatlantic flight.
2.08 linear feet