Curtiss Jenny Restoration

Welcome! We hope you enjoy following the restoration process of a 1918 Curtiss JN4D Jenny. Once completed, the aeroplane will be flown and displayed at the Candler Field Museum in Williamson GA (30 miles south of Atlanta). You can contact me below by clicking on "VIEW MY PROFILE"

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Location: Peachtree City, Georgia, United States

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sleeping Dog video

Sleeping Dog Productions has released another Jenny video.  Enjoy:

In other Jenny news, Dorian Walker and his crew are now touring the airshow circuit with their Jenny.  They made it to Dayton for the upcoming Air Fest.  From the picture, they are in good company.

I think it is great what they are doing with their airplane.  If you go to their website, you can learn more about their plans:


 And you want to see their Jenny fly, here is their touring schedule:

Today, my friend and future Jenny restorer Kevin Connor was visiting Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome.  It seems as if their Jenny is just hanging out until the next show.

Lastly, the Jenny in San Diego is getting new clothes! Fellow Bucker pilots Greg Stringer and Joe Vasile were there attending the Bucker fly-in and took a quick tour of the San Diego Aerospace Museum's Gillespie Field restoration shop.  

That's all the Jenny news.  Enjoy


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Vintage Days - Candler Field Museum 2014

Every year our museum has a really fun event called Vintage Days.  We have old cars, tractors, planes and people in period attire wandering around the grounds.  There were three local bands playing music, a guy selling home made ice cream churned by a hit-or-miss engine, local vendors selling all kinds of stuff and of course food...lots of food.  All the proceeds benefited the museum and our new Youth Mentor Aviation program.

Details and photos of the event can be seen at:

Twice during the day we conducted a "Parade of Flight" for the nearly 1500 people who attended the event.

I was privileged to take Vic Syracuse with me on the first parade.  Vic was the DAR who issued us the Jenny's airworthiness certificate back in November.

Luckily, I had two teenage student pilots as wing walkers.  It was a warm, summer Georgia Day and they thought nothing of it.

 John Gaertner came all the way from Virginia to be there and I'm happy to say he got to fly under the Jenny wings he built.  Here is a link to the video he took:

 Local aviation Photographer John Slemp took some great photos during the event.  He shared one of me and my wife at the end of the event.

He also converted a few of his photos into black and white.

You can see some of his work here:

It is a neat, simple website filled with some great aviation photographs.



Sunday, June 01, 2014

Alaska Jenny Pics

 A friend sent me these pictures of Alaska pioneer pilot Ben Eilson's Jenny. 



Ben Eilson had a fascinating life.  If you want to read about him, click on this link:

Anyway, Ben's Jenny hung in the rafters of the Fairbanks Airport terminal for many years.  The original wings had been lost and inaccurate replicas were made. You can see the wings in this photo.

Several years ago, John Morak contacted me.  He was part of a group of volunteers in Fairbanks who wanted to restore Ben's Jenny.  They needed some wing strut drawings and I was happy to oblige. 

As you can see, they did a great job.  If you are ever in Fairbanks, check it out!



Monday, May 26, 2014

Another video

Scott Coile took this video last evening and wanted to share it with everyone.   It was a beautiful evening for flying and we took advantage of it!

 Click here to see the video:

Weather permitting, we are going to fly the Jenny at our annual Vintage Day event at the museum.

You can see the schedule of events at



Monday, May 19, 2014

New Jenny video

The folks at Sleeping Dog Productions posted this three minute trailer using the Jenny footage they took last month. 

Click here to see the video:



Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Hi Everyone,

I have not posted much lately. I apologize.  We have been flying the Jenny quite a bit and I didn't want to bore anyone with posts that read:

Flew Jenny today
Flew Jenny today
Flew Jenny today.

I felt like unless something relevant came along, there was no need to post. Eventually I will share some really good videos of the Jenny in the air. We simply have not taken any worthy footage yet until a visit by Sleeping Dog Productions recently. (see below).

We have been spending time tinkering - oil changes, leaky valve covers, a flat tire....stuff like that. I guess you never just "get in and fly away" with an airplane this old.

One thing we noticed is that the bungee cords had been weakening.  When we installed the cords, we did it the old fashioned way - wound rib stitch cord around the lose ends and gave it a good coat of shellac.  This method didn't seem to work very well.  We didn't put the bungee cords on with enough tension to start (stretching as we wrapped) and not enough wraps with the rib stitch cord.

Live and learn.

So, the main landing gear got new bungees and we wrapped them with copious amounts of cord.

In the tail, we decided to go modern...

The wraps were held in place with hose clamps!  Sorry.


Since we were flying so much, it was time for another oil change.


And tracked down a small leak at the oil temperature bulb.


Somehow, we sprung a leak in the tube of the left wheel, so off it came.


And a new tube installed.

Our youngest son Brighton decided to polish the propeller.

He also got to sit through an engine run as we adjusted the idle setting.  About that setting.....


One of my complaints was that the engine hesitated when accelerating from idle.  It would shake, backfire and run rough for a few seconds before running smoothly.  I knew the NAD4 carburetor did not have an accelerator pump, but rather a small chamber filled with fuel that was accessed when the butterfly valves were opened with the throttle.  I wasn't happy with this set up.

So, I went into my Hisso manuals.  There was no mention of an idle RPM.

Since there was no guidance in the book, I set up the engine to idle around 350 RPM.  I was told these engines idle slowly so I used the idle speed of the OX-5 engine, another big water cooled V8.  

It finally took a few phone calls to Paul Dougherty at the Golden Age Air Museum and Kevin Connor in Tulsa, OK to figure it out.  Everyone told me "set the idle RPM high enough to where it runs smoothly, but slow enough that you don't move".  No brakes, remember.  The consensus was 500 RPM.

Ours is now set at 480 RPM and I'm happy with the results!

John Gaertner sent me these vintage Jenny pictures seen on eBay.  I love this one.  Could you imagine landing in a field of high grass and selling rides all weekend?

This one is a Standard J1, but you get the idea.

Last weekend, Sleeping Dog Productions came to the Museum and did a lot of filming.  They are planning on making several videos for Flying Magazine's online section.


 Also, Stan Smith sent me these photographs of the Jenny model he is building.  I was blown away!  Stan wrote:


Thought I would send you some progress pictures.  Have really been enjoying reading your blog and seeing pictures and videos of the flights.  This is the first time that I put the plane together and did a weigh in, (9 3/4 lbs. so far with batteries, motor, and servos inside)

Stan Smith

Also, Jim Landoni sent me pictures of the unbelievably scale Jenny model his is building as well.

Enjoy it all. I'll try to post more often again.



Sunday, February 09, 2014

Trim System works!

Well, it took a lot longer than expected, but the trim system is finally finished.  I will have detail pictures shortly, but for now, I'm happy to report the trim system works perfectly - hands off the stick perfectly!

After a month of cold weather (and snow in Atlanta), the weather warmed up to 60 degrees today.  We waited for the crosswind to die down and right before dusk, Ron took the Jenny up for a test flight.

Photos courtesy of Aaron Stark.

I was pleased to day to have a visit from Gordon and Zak Clement who drove from Lawrenceville, GA to see the Jenny.

 Zak is a private pilot and a student at the University of Georgia.  His dad Gordon has followed the Jenny restoration from day one, even helping me bring home Jenny parts from all over the country. It was a great visit.

A month ago, I was contacted by Jonathan Fallon, the editor of World War I Aero magazine who wanted to do an article about what it is like to fly the Jenny.  Issue #218 will be ready for print very soon.  

If you would like to read the entire article, and get 100 pages of other cool early aviation stuff, you can download the magazine at

Arron Stark sent this video of Ron's fly-by.  Enjoy it!


Recently I told you about my visit with fellow antique airplane restorer Andrew King.

Andrew posted this picture when he was flying the Old Rhinebeck Jenny many years ago. I was drawn to his really neat sweater!  If you look at the picture below, you will see where why.

It looks like a replica of the sweaters worn by the 13 Black Cats, a very famous West Coast traveling aerial circus.

 Here is one of the Black Cats in action. Notice the camera strapped to the Jenny tail.

 One of the Black Cats was Paul Richter (the face hiding behind the fin / rudder).  He later went to become one of the founding members of TWA!

Love the sweater, Andrew.  Do you still have it?