Curtiss NC-3 (P2N-1) and NC-4 (P2N-1) Photographs

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.