Curtiss Sales Booklet, 1912
(Copy scanned with no editing)
The Story of Development.
In the five years since the first aeroplane of the Aerial Experiment Association made a successful flight at Hammondsport, N. Y., the improvement in the Curtiss Biplane has been so rapid that the step from the experimental machine to the highly perfected, practical Curtiss aeroplanes and hydroaeroplanes of today, has been made in less time than similar progress has ever been recorded in the development of any other important means of transportation.
In 190S Glenn Curtiss won the first aeroplane contest in this country, by flying, what was then considered a remarkable distance of a mile and one-half straightaway. A year later he outclassed the dozen or more of the world's aeroplane makers, who had by that time entered the field, by winning the first Gordon Bennett International Aeroplane Race which was held at Rheims, France.
Always continuing to experiment, Mr. Curtiss, in 1910, with an aeroplane equipped with pontoons, the first step in the development of the Curtiss hydroaeroplane, made the first great cross-country aeroplane flight, from Albany to New York, a distance of 150 miles in the actual flying time of 152 minutes.
Having demonstrated by his own achievements the practical value of the Curtiss aeroplane as a machine embodying durability, speed, safety, and an instinctive control, Mr. Curtiss turned his attention to the further development of the Curtiss aeroplane along two distinct linesfor military purposes and for pleasure.
At his experimental station in San Diego, California, during the winter of 1910 and 1911, Mr. Curtiss developed further improvements in the construction and design of his machines, and these were embodied in the Curtiss aeroplane that so forcefully proved its superiority when used in competition with all other aeroplanes at the big Chicago and Boston aviation meets in 1911.
It was also at San Diego that the first flight from land to water, and vice versa, was made, the new Curtiss hydroaeroplane being used for the purpose. Since that historical event this land and water aeroplane has been acknowledged by aerial, automobile, and yachting enthusiasts to be the most fascinating and exhilarating craft ever invented. It so far eliminates the dangers of aviation that it may be said to change a hazardous sport into a pleasant form of recreation.
These various developments, resulting from the San Diego experiments, were witnessed by officers especially detailed from the United States Army and Navy. The military authorities at Washington, recognizing the exceptional advantages of the Curtiss aeroplane and the Curtiss hydroaeroplane for Army and Navy uses, immediately proceeded to equip the two branches of the service with these machines.
It is this finished product, developed and manufactured under the personal direction of Mr. Curtiss, who has preferred to profit by his own experience in actual flight rather than depend on the experience of others, that is now offered to those seeking a new and exciting sport and to those who recognize the commercial and practical values of the aeroplane.
The Curtiss Aeroplane has become so generally regarded as the safest machine, on account of the instinctive feature of its controls, the rigidity of its construction, and its stability in rough weather conditions, as demonstrated by Curtiss aviators in competition with others, that it is in consequence acknowledged to be the best aeroplane for exhibitions and contests, when flights are expected regardless of weather conditions.
The Curtiss aeroplane has been flown over two hundred thousand miles in exhibition flights and at aviation meets; many times in confined spaces where no other machine built could have been operated. This vast experience has been turned to good account in the design and construction of the "Model D" machine.
The necessity for restricting the use of the Curtiss aeroplane in the early days of aviation, when ignorance and optimism frequently dominated those ambitious to fly, does not now exist. On the other hand, the necessity for caution has been impressed on all those interested in aviation.
For this reason, the purchaser of a Curtiss aeroplane has NO RESTRICTIONS placed on its use.
Those desiring to purchase a Curtiss aeroplane or hydroaeroplane FOR EXHIBITION PURPOSES need obtain no special permission to do so; NO ROYALTY IS CHARGED.
On the other hand, the Curtiss Aeroplane Co. gives to all purchasers such co-operation as the experience of the Curtiss exhibition aviators makes possible. It has always been a Curtiss policy to encourage exhibition flights and contests as the most practical way in which to advance the art of aviation.
The Curtiss Standard Biplane.
This is the style of Curtiss aeroplane that has been used so successfully by the various aviators that have given exhibition flights throughout the country under the direction of Glenn H. Curtiss and The Curtiss Exhibition Co. It is developed from the original Rheims racer and is the aeroplane which, at the Chicago and Boston International Aviation Meets, was demonstrated to be the superior of all other aeroplanes for rough weather work. This is the same aeroplane with which were made many of the records of Glenn H. Curtiss, Lincoln Beachey, Eugene B. Ely, Hugh Robinson, J. A. D. McCurdy, C. C. Witmer, Charles K. Hamilton, Beckwith Havens, Charles F. Walsh, Captain Paul Beck, Lieutenant Theodore G. Ellyson, Lieutenant J. H. Towers, Eugene Godet, R. C. St. Henry, and other world renowned aviators.
WIDTHPlanes, over all, 33 feet, 4 inches. LENGTHFront to rear control, 25 feet, 9 inches. HEIGHTFrom ground to highest points, 7 feet 5.5 inches.
DESCRIPTION AND PRICES.
MODEL D-4Equipped with a 4-cylinder, 40 h. p. water-cooled Curtiss motor. An excellent machine far exhibition work, endurance, etc. Speed, 46 miles per hour. Weight ready for flight, 550 pounds. Weight, packed for shipment, 930 pounds. Price, complete for shipment... $l,500
MODEL D-8Equipped with an 8-cylinder, 60 h. p. water-cooled Curtiss motor. Entire outfit identical with that used by the famous aviators of The Curtiss Exhibition Co. The safest machine, and the most suitable for a confined space. Speed, 60 miles per hour. Weight, ready for flight, 630 pounds. Weight, packed for shipment, 1,000 pounds. Price, complete for shipment... $3,000
MODEL D-8-75Same as Model D, but equipped with an 8-cylinder, 75 h. p. water-cooled Curtiss motor. Capable of developing a speed of 70 miles an hour. For speed and cross-country races. Weight, ready for flight, 700 pounds. Weight, packed for shipment, 1,050 pounds. Price, complete for shipment... $5,500
The Curtiss Design.
The initiated as well as the uninitiated are impressed with the diminutive lines of the Curtiss aeroplane when obtaining their first view of it. But this impression is soon overshadowed as the eye takes note of the strength and grace that the general design of the machine embodies. The trained engineer and the skilled mechanic comment on the originality of the Curtiss design, as well as on the ingenuity displayed in the construction of the machine according to the best accepted principles of engineering and mechanical design. The layman, when not in a position to appreciate the technical values of the design carried out in the Curtiss aeroplane, is similarly impressed by the beauty of the machine as a whole.
Behind these general impressions lay the fundamental reasons for the great success of the Curtiss aeroplanes under the worst flying conditions. To the same degree that it is correct technically, the Curtiss flying machine is correct practically. A close inspection of its various features shows that in detail it has the same virtues that it portrays en masse.
The rigid construction of the main planes, which are the supporting surfaces of the entire weight when the machine is in flight, results in a construction that has the comparative strength of a steel trussed bridge. This is one of the oldest ideas in heavier-than-air flying machines and is the principle that was fathered by the late Octave Chanute, the noted railway engineer.
As the Curtiss machine does not utilize any warping or bending of its main planes this principle of trussed rigid construction is utilized to the fullest extent in Mr. Curtiss' design. It is not necessary to sacrifice one iota of strength in the main structure of the Curtiss aeroplane as the main surfaces are intended to perform only one functionto support the machine in flight.
Simplicity is the basis for the success of any mechanical contrivance in which strength is the most desired object. The application of this principle has been made an art in the design of the Curtiss aeroplane. Each separate part has its own distinct function to perform. In the Curtiss machine there is no such thing as the combined use of two parts to accomplish one result, nor is any part utilized for more than one single purpose.
The rudder on the Curtiss aeroplane is used solely to change the horizontal direction of the machine. The ailerons are used solely for maintaining equilibrium. The ailerons are absolutely independent of the rudder and the rudder in no way depends on the action of the ailerons. There are three elevating controls governing the ascension or depression of the machine. Each of these controls is separately connected to the steering post. Any one of these elevators is sufficiently effective in itself to control the vertical direction of the machine without the aid of either of the other two. In the same way each aileron is capable of maintaining the balance of the machine without the use of the other.
In the chassis or landing gear of the Curtiss aeroplane the principle of strength of the entire design is splendidly illustrated. For the Curtiss machine to turn a somersault in landing is practically an impossibility. As the structure is almost entirely of laminated wood, the entire machine is shock absorbing. In consequence, the landing gear, where strength is of greatest importance, may be solidly built. This has been done in the Curtiss aeroplane. When the aeroplane is running over the ground before taking to the air or after alighting it is subjected to the greatest strains. Mr. Curtiss has taken this fact into account and has made his chassis as strong as that of an automobile.
It is a well known fact that anything which travels on three wheels adjusts itself more readily to an uneven surface than anything which travels on two or four wheels. Adopting a three-wheel chassis, Mr. Curtiss has outstripped all other aeroplane designers.
The explanation of the fact that the Curtiss aeroplane will not turn over headlong when a bad landing is made lies in the arrangement of the three wheels. One wheel is placed so far in front of the center of weight that it would be practically impossible to overturn when landing. In the event of a wheel breaking, during a bad landing, the skid takes up the load.
Simplicity is further illustrated in the use of but one propeller. In the event of a broken propeller on an aeroplane which uses only one, the machine is in the same condition as when the motor stops. The aviator can glide safely to earth. Furthermore, the propeller is driven by the motor direct and does not require complicated gears or chains that are necessary when more than one propeller is used. Accordingly, the risk of accident is minimized.
It is largely the design of the Curtiss aeroplane that has made it possible for Mr. Curtiss to invent the "Hydroaeroplane." It is also the superiority of the general lines of the Curtiss aeroplane that has handicapped imitators in their efforts to duplicate the Curtiss hydroaeroplane.
As perfection is approached in a mechanical design its practicability is increased. As a natural result of the general scheme carried out in the design of the Curtiss aeroplane it is found to adapt itself most readily to the requirements of every day usage. As a result, it can be entirely dismantled in one hour, and reassembled, ready for flight, in two hours by two mechanics. It is more easily transported than any other aeroplane constructed. If any part of the Curtiss aeroplane becomes damaged, that part may be replaced or repaired without disturbance to the rest of the machine.
The Curtiss aeroplane embodies a perfection of design and construction that compares favorably with the highest grade article in any other line of manufacture of longer standing than the aeroplane industry.
Army and Navy Officers Endorse Curtiss Military Biplane.
In the development of military aviation in the United States, the Curtiss aeroplane occupies distinctly the most prominent position. Before Congress made any appropriation for aviation in either the army or navy, representatives of both branches of the service were invited to receive instruction in the operation of the Curtiss aeroplane at the Curtiss training aerodrome in San Diego, California, at no expense to the Government. This established a unique precedent. These officers were also invited to participate in the experiments which Mr. Curtiss planned for the winter.
By the time Congress made available funds for government aeroplane activity, there were three army officers prepared to operate a Curtiss aeroplane, and one naval officer ready to operate a Curtiss hydroaeroplane as well as the land machine.
The attention given by Mr. Curtiss to the development of an aeroplane fulfilling the special requirements of the army and navy resulted in the construction of a Curtiss machine that has attracted the attention of the military authorities of foreign countries. The Army has purchased several Curtiss aeroplanes, including the military and cross-country type (Model "E") that has attracted the attention of military authorities the world over.
Model "E" is equipped with a double control, by means of which either of the two passengers may shift the control to the other without inconvenience of any kind.
Of the three aeroplanes purchased for the Navy in 1911, two are Curtiss machines, one being Model "D" and the other a passenger carrying Curtiss hydroaeroplane.
The Curtiss hydroaeroplane has revolutionized military aviation and has attracted the attention of military experts abroad. The officials of the United States Navy have declared that this unique craft, in addition to its great factor of safety, is the only practical type of machine for naval use.
The Curtiss aeroplane has also been favored by another branch of the Government service. Postmaster-General Hitchcock made a record for himself and the Curtiss aeroplane by carrying U. S. mail by aerial route. This occurred at Nassau Boulevard, N. Y., and was the first occasion on which any Postmaster-General of the United States acted in the capacity of mail carrier. Captain Beck piloted the Curtiss aeroplane in which Mr. Hitchcock carried the mail.
The Weight-Carrying Curtiss Aeroplane.
For military and passenger-carrying purposes, and when the aviator does not intend to fly in races or regular exhibition work, the large surface style of Curtiss aeroplane has several advantages. Model E-4 machine is adaptable for exhibition work when a slow but strong flying machine is wanted. This type is especially advantageous for high dry, altitudes.
Model E-8 combines splendid passenger carrying facilities with speed. This aeroplane is equipped with the Curtiss shift control system which has been adopted by the U. S. Army and Navy. It was with a Model E machine that Capt. Paul Beck, of the Army, carried Postmaster-General Hitchcock when the chief of the government's mail service acted in the capacity of mail carrier at Nassau Boulevard, Long Island, in September 1911.
For cross country flights the Model E-8-75 aeroplane is far superior to all cross-country types of flying machines. It combines those features of safetya single propeller, surplus power, and instinctive controlof the standard Curtiss model, with the unusual weight carrying facilities due to its large lifting surface and powerful motor.
WIDTHPlanes, over all, 35 feet, 4 inches. LENGTHFront to rear control, 23 feet, 9 inches. HEIGHTFrom ground to highest point, 8 feet.
DESCRIPTION AND PRICES.
MODEL E-4Equipped with a 4-cylinder, 40 h. p. water cooled Curtiss motor. This machine is a slow, strong flying aeroplane, especially suitable for aviation schools and beginners. It is also available for high, dry altitudes. Speed, 40 miles per hour. Weight, ready for flight, 600 pounds. Weight, packed for shipment, 1000 pounds. Price, complete for shipment... $4,500
MODEL E-8Equipped with an 8-cylinder, 60 h. p. water-cooled Curtiss motor. A machine that combines speed with the advantages of weight carrying. Equipped with the Curtiss alternating dual control system. A machine that makes aviation a sport. Speed, 55 miles per hour. Weight, ready for flight, 700 pounds. Weight, packed for shipment, 1050 pounds. Price, complete for shipment... $5,000
MODEL E-8-75The same as model E-8, but equipped with an 8-cylinder, 75 h. p. Curtiss motor. The surplus power gives greater speed as well as more weight-carrying possibilities. Speed, 60 miles per hour. Weight, ready for flight, 750 pounds. Weight, packed for shipment, 1,100 pounds. Price, complete for shipment... $5,500
The Curtiss Hydroaeroplane.
The Curtiss hydroaeroplane has been aptly described as embodying "the acme of ease, comfort, safety, and exhilaration." It is, indeed, all of these and more. It is a practical machine... more practical than any other heavier-than-air craft ever built. Its military utility has been recognized by the United States government, and two officers of the United States Navy, trained at the Curtiss Aviation School, have operated the United States Navy Curtiss hydroaeroplane in many long flights.
The advantages of the hydroaeroplane for cross-country flying are obvious. Its equipment for alighting on and arising from the water makes it possible for an aviator to follow any water course with ease and safety. He does not have to fly high in order to be able to select a favorable landing place in the event of motor trouble, but can skim along within a few feet of the surface of the water without danger. As a vehicle for sport nothing can approach the hydroaeroplane. It is an aeroplane and racing motorboat all in one. It is the safest passenger-carrying air craft ever built. It is equipped with the famous Curtiss dual control, which permits two aviators to shift the control from one to the other on a long sustained flight and thus do away with another element of uncertaintythat which comes from the physical strain on an aviator in a long distance flight.
The hydroaeroplane robs aviation of half its dangers and adds to the pleasure of flying a hundred fold. As an engine of warfare it widens the scope of the aeroplane's utility beyond the bounds of the most vivid imagination and makes possible the adoption of aircraft by the navies of the world. It marks the conquest of three elementsair, water and earth. Driven over the surface of the water, the new machine can pass the fastest motorboat ever built and will respond to the rudder more quickly than any water craft afloat. Its appeal is as strong to the aquatic as to the aerial enthusiast.
Fear, the one thing that has laid a restraining hand on the sleeve of many a man eager to fly, need no longer be a hindrance to the progress of aerial popularity. The timid may become successful aviators as well as the bold; the man of business as well as the practical mechanic.
Tbe Curtiss hydroaeroplane has been used in exhibition flights at many cities located on ocean, bay, and river throughout the United States since its development at San Diego in the Spring of 1911. Everywhere it has proved the greatest novelty and drawn more people than any other amusement feature ever presented. The Curtiss hydroaeroplane is simply a standard Curtiss aeroplane equipped with a Curtiss hydro, or boat, arrangement. Any Curtiss aeroplane may be made into a hydroaeroplane by removing the regular chassis and putting on the water equipment. This can be done in two hours by two competent mechanics. The boat or float, used on the hydroaeroplane weighs but 125 pounds and adds very little to the cost of shipping the machine by express.
The Curtiss hydroaeroplane is the only successful hydroaeroplane in the world. It is successful because the standard Curtiss aeroplane lends itself in every way to the attachments which make it a hydroaeroplane.
DESCRIPTION AND PRICES.
MODEL D-8Exhibition type with hydro equipment, in addition to the regular chassis. Price, complete ... $5,500
MODEL E-75The "Triad" passenger carrying hydroaeroplane, which is identical with Model E when the hydro is not attached. This machine is equipped with a 75 h. p. motor. Price ... $6,000
Comparison of Express Charges.
Below is a comparison of express charges on Curtiss aeropanes with charges on other aeroplanes. For quick shipment the Curtiss aeroplane is the only machine which does not require a special car.
New York to Chicago
New York to San Francisco
St. Louis to Kansas City
Galveston, Tex., to Ft. Worth, Tex.