Curtiss D-III Headless Pusher

Yellow wheel with tire on orange metal framing of Curtiss D-III Headless aircraft

This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

In 1911, Curtiss continued the evolution of the pusher design with the development of the D-II (the Golden Flyer was considered the Model D) and the D-III, to which a second set of elevators were added to the rear in place of the fixed horizontal stabilizer. The Curtiss D-III Headless Pusher resulted from an accident incurred by noted exhibition pilot, Lincoln Beachey. While flying in a competition with a standard Curtiss D-III, Beachey hit a fence upon landing and destroyed the front elevator. Rather than drop out, Beachey continued to fly without the front elevator control and found that the aircraft performed better than before. Highlighted in this image is a tire of the Curtiss D-III Headless Pusher.

Learn more about Curtiss D-III Headless Pusher