Display Status This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

In 1917, the United States Navy developed specifications for a flying boat of sufficient range to cross the Atlantic to England. The Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company, in conjunction with the Navy, developed a three-engine aircraft. The Navy intended that the flying boat would serve as an anti-submarine patrol aircraft. The first of the new aircraft, the NC-1, flew on October 4, 1918, followed by the NC-2 on April 12, 1919. Even though World War I had ended, the Navy decided to continue the program in an effort to make the first trans-Atlantic crossing by air. As the program progressed, the NC-2 was dismantled to provide parts for the other NC aircraft. On May 16, 1919, the NC-1, the NC-3, and the NC-4 assembled at Trepassey Bay, Newfoundland, to begin the 1200-mile flight to the Azores. The NC-1 was forced down short of the islands and sank, but the Greek vessel, Ionia, rescued the crew. The NC-3 landed two hundred miles short and taxied the remaining distance to the islands. The NC-4 completed the flight successfully, reaching Plymouth, England via Lisbon, Portugal on May 31, 1919. Following publicity tours of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States, the NC-4 was given to the Smithsonian Institution and is a part of the National Air and Space Museum collection.



Processing Information

Arranged and described in 2009 by Jessamyn Lloyd, encoded in 2020 by Jessamyn Lloyd.




Frederick M. Thompson, Gift, Unknown, NASM.XXXX.0903


0.05 Cubic feet (1 folder)


This collection consists of eight black and white photographs, mounted on album pages, documenting the flight of the Curtiss NC-1, the Curtiss NC-3, and the Curtiss NC-4 aircraft in their effort to make the first trans-Atlantic crossing by air.


No restrictions on access.


Collection descriptions

Archival materials

Photographic prints

Arrangement note

Collection is in original order.

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of eight black and white photographs, each approximately 2.25 x 3 inches, mounted on two 7 x 6 inch pages (four to each page) with caption information. The Curtiss NC-3 is shown anchored to a buoy, landing, and beached with damaged wings at Ponta Delgada, Azores Islands. The Curtiss NC-4 is shown landing, on the water, and taking off for Lisbon, Portugal. There is also an image taken from a ship of Naval personnel watching for an aircraft.


Photographic prints


Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests


United States. Navy -- Aviation

Topics Aeronautics
Transatlantic flights
Curtiss NC-3 (P2N-1)
Curtiss NC-4 (P2N-1)


Curtiss NC-3 and NC-4 Photographs, NASM.XXXX.0903, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Archival Repository

National Air and Space Museum Archives

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