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Curtiss Model E Flying Boat (hull)

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This object is on display in the Pre-1920 Aviation exhibition station at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.


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.

Manufacturer: Curtiss Aeroplane Company

Date: 1913

Country of Origin: United States of America

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)

Materials: Overall: Wood

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.

Inventory number: A19490022000

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