Sunday, June 7, 2015

State Historical Museum of Iowa: Wings Over Iowa, ca. 1911 Curtiss Pusher Biplane

On permanent display at the State Historical Museum of Iowa in Des Moines is a ca. 1911 Curtiss Pusher Biplane.

"This Curtiss Pusher was built from a kit by brothers Arthur and Ben Klein in Treynor, Iowa. The brothers flew the plane from 1911 to 1915, but due to frequent mechanical problems the plane was disassembled, stored and then rediscovered in the 1960s."
Reference: State Historical Museum of Iowa: Wings Over Iowa, ca. 1911 Curtiss Pusher Biplane

"In 1909, the G.H. Curtiss Manufacturing Company delivered the firm's first airplane, a pusher design with elevators in the front, called the Golden Flyer, to the New York Aeronautical Society. In 1911, Curtiss began to concentrate on the military market, selling three airplanes to the U.S. Navy. 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 formerly used on the D and D-II models.

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. Navy pilots had independently realized that stability was enhanced without the forward elevator and they removed them from their airplanes. Curtiss concurred with the results and began producing the 1912 Model D Headless Pusher as a new offering."
Reference: Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Curtiss Pusher Biplane

Previous articles in the series:
State Historical Museum of Iowa: Wings Over Iowa, ca. 1909 Bleriot XI Monoplane