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

Monday, November 27, 2006


Sanded all the gussets on both sides of the rudder today. The rudder horn attach blocks look so much better now.

Well, I could not resist. the rudder. Gotta do this every now and then!

Back to business. Made the lower cross brace. As with all the ribs, the 7/8in to 3/8in taper was cut on the bandsaw. Same for the reenforcing blocks.



Sunday, November 26, 2006

Rudder gussets

Back to work after eating too much holiday turkey!

Today was rudder gusset day. At nearly every joint, there is some kind of reenforcement block. Below is the attach point for one of the rudder wire/turnbuckle fittings. It's grooved to accept the trailing edge. I have not glued it on yet, as when this picture was taken, I was still cutting and fitting.

This is more like the standard 3/4 in gussets. I made a bunch of these. When it's dry tomorow, I hope to sand everything flush. It will look a whole lot nicer that way!

Now, for the rudder horn blocks. In order to fit the 7/8 in. rudder post, the blocks were formed in the usual fashion.

Then they were bansawed and sanded to shape. Once again, everything will be sanded smooth.

More to come!


Thursday, November 16, 2006


Well, a wonderfull package arrived today from Tom Hegy - A compass, oil temperature gauge and a water temperature gauge. Can't wait to have an instrument panel to fit them in!

Thanks again to Tom Hegy for parting with his treasures. I can assure him that they will be put to good use (and loved!)

Back in the shop tomorow.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Built the vertical ribs in the rudder yesterday. Seems like a simple task, but many of the pieces are tapered (wherever it touches the trailing edge) which took a bit of time.

More soon


Sunday, November 12, 2006


**** Please welcome into the world Brighton Chase Karli - born November 5th, 2006 ****

In case you were wondering why there was a hiatus in the Jenny progress.

OK - I started building the horizontal pieces of the Rudder. First, the one end was sanded to fit the 7/8 in. tubing that makes up the leading edge.

Then the pieces were cut to fit. Interestingly, each piece tapers from 7/8in at the front to 3/8 in at the rear and has to be 1/2 in at the first vertical brace position and 9/16th at the second brace. Believe it or not, it's pretty close to a straight line. You can see the taper in this photo.

Next step is making the vertical braces. Nothing the bandsaw won't cure. Till then.


Saturday, November 04, 2006

Rudder tubing

The trailing edge of the rudder was attached to the rudder post today. After cutting and notching everything in place, I tacked everything together and heated up the top of the post. This way, I could squeeze the ends together and get a more streamlined shape. Here's the .025 cap being formed to strengthen and cover the end.

The cover was then brazed, ground and sanded. (below)

Ah, the first mating of the fin and rudder!

Gotta do the same to the bottom of the rudder yet! Till then....


Friday, November 03, 2006

fin and rudder

I was told Jennies had a weak fin. Paul Dougherty told me about it. However, Frank Shelling just sent me the original blueprints dated August 1918 that showed how the Army solved the problem. It made interesting reading:

Attached blueprints of three fittings for strengthening the tail fin on American built Curtiss'.

This was first used by the R.F.C. in the summer of 1917, after having several tail fins break in a spin, and in one instance the tail fin came completely off killing, the pilot and the pupil.

Good enough reason for me.

Anyway, the modification called for a forward brace wire on the fin. A piece of .090 steel was cut, bent and drillled to fit the fin. Also, the stabilizer fitting was modified to take two wires (one from the top of the fin and one from the middle of the fin). You can see the finished pieces above.

Here's a shot of the fitting on the fin.

Also finished welding the second rudder post hinge fitting.

More soon.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Rudder hinge

Well, Richard Epton finished painting the fittings. They turned out great! We used an epoxy primer made bt PPG. It's called DP-90. Sprays nicely and looks appropriate. Thanks to Paul Dougherty for that recommendation.

Here's a shot of the fin and stabilizer together for the first time. I used this opportunity to adjust the front and rear fittings. Both fittings are now brazed and off to the beadblaster.

Now for the rudder hinge. The Jenny had castings brazed on to the rudder post. These castings were missing on my project, so I decided to make some out of steel. I did have the drawings of the dimentions, though. I started by cutting a piece of 1 in. tubing in half. Then another piece of tubing was cut to give me 3/8 in. on either side of the hinge (shown in primer). The two slits in the small tube were cut for later use.

The small tube was welded onto the half section and the center piece removed on the bandsaw.

Here is how it all goes together (before it's cleaned up). The new fitting will be welded to the rudder post.