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

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Castings & Struts

The castings arrived today from Doveworks Foundry in Anniston, Alabama. Ben Douglas did a great job casting the parts and they will immediately be sent to John Gaertner for the machine work.

These are the rear stick pedestals.

And the fuel gauge bullet.

Also, John Morak has been hard at work carving the wing struts. John is a master woodworker, pilot, and resident of Fairbanks, Alaska.

John is also carving a set of king post struts.
You can tell his workmanship from the photos - superb.

John Gaertner at Blue Swallow Aircraft has begun construction on the ailerons. He cut out all the ribs...

...and the 11 ft. spar blanks. Yes, the Jenny has 11 ft ailerons!

More next week. Enjoy


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

tail attached

One of the things we wanted to accomplish today was to drill the holes for the tail. After setting everything in place, measuring tip to nose, tip to fin etc. the holes were marked and drilled.

The back part of the stabilizer is held in place by two "spoon bolts". These bolts are original which is pretty neat.

The front of the stabilizer is held in place with two U bolts.

We also drilled the holes for the fin. Here, Glen Marsh holds the rudder in place.

More soon


Sunday, January 24, 2010

firewall and turtledeck work

Cut the slots in the firewall today. This is where the fuel tank cradle attaches to the engine bearers. This was cut using a drill (1/4 in. bit) in successive holes followed by cleaning with a Dremel tool and finally filed smooth.

Two cuts were made.

I spent a bunch of time ensuring that each stringer was 1/4 in. above the bulkhead.

For you future Jenny builders - towards the last two bulkheads, the stringers must sink down to 3/16 in. This is because the side stringers (when I put them on soon) twist and lay flat at the end. The side stringers are 3/16 in. so it makes everything flush. When I get to this point, I'll take some detail shots to show you.

For now, I just deepened the hole with the Dremel tool.

And measured 3/16 in.

That's all for today. More soon


Friday, January 22, 2010

Tail brace tubes

Today, Glen Marsh met me at the hangar and we decided to tackle the rear stabilizer braces. The first thing was to take the drawing of the fuselage bracket (as graciously supplied by Doc Hood - no original drawing exists) and transfer the dimensions to a piece of paper.

Then using the template, we band sawed the rough shape out of a piece of .190 sheet steel and fine tuned it with the grinder.

Here they are prior to finishing, bending and drilling.

Also, the lower end of the front brace was made too.

As was a top end. Luckily, we had an original brace to use as a pattern!

Also, the upper and lower ends of the rear brace were also cut.

Switching to the turtledeck, quite a bit of time was spent trimming the last bulkhead. Several times we had the stabilizer on and off to make sure the bulkhead was a tight fit. I subscribe to the motto "measure twice, cut once" but in this case, I left the stringers long for one final "fit". They will be cut flush next.

Till then



Monday, January 18, 2010

Engine installed for the first time

Today's goal was to install the Hisso engine. With the help of my friends Drew Walker and Glen Marsh, we nervously raised the engine and set it into the engine bearers.

It fit fine.

I wanted to get the engine bearers straight and true, so we dropped plumb lines and broke out the rulers.

We also held the radiator in place just to see how things fit. This picture does not lie - it really takes two people to move the radiator around. It's pretty heavy.

The main reason for getting the engine bearers in place was so I could cut the slots in the firewall for the fuel tank cradle.

The slot was marked and I'll cut this out next shop day.

In the mean time, Drew and Glen cut some 1/8 in. sheet stock to make a few parts for the stabilizer braces.

More soon.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

A real Barnstormer story

One of the neat things about this builders blog is that I get to meet a lot of interesting people and they all seem to have one thing in common - the Curtiss Jenny. Sometimes it's model builders, sometimes it's people wanting to build their own Jenny, and in this case I met Steve Holder, of Kettering OH.

Steve wrote and asked me this question:
I`m hoping you can help me. Do you know how I can find out who is the oldest living airplane passenger ?
My 85 year old mother took her first airplane flight in 1925 when she was just 2 weeks old. My grandfather, Jim Trich was a licensed pilot and flew a
Curtiss Jenny at the time. I`ve trying to do some research to find out if there is anyone living who took a airplane ride prior to 1925.
Any info you can pass along would be appreciated. Thanks,

I never really thought about it. Logically, I think Steve's mother may be the oldest living passenger. Can anyone out there help him out?

I asked Steve to send some information about his grandfather and he sent me some pictures and a really interesting article. Enough pictures of me wrapping wires - here's a first hand account from a real "barnstormer".

Check out the colorized picture of Jim Trich in front of an Alexander Eaglerock biplane.

I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did.

Wonder where that Jenny is today? Hmmm....


Friday, January 15, 2010

Landing gear wire

One step forward, one step backwards, one step forward.....

OK, I admit it. I had to remake the rear landing gear wires. When I looked at the gear the other day, it finally hit me. I put the lower fitting (where the cross brace wire attaches) on the back bolt, not the front bolt! Consequently, the beautiful wrapped and soldered wires I made were too short.

So, I spent the afternoon today making new wires. Oh, well....

See, now the fitting is in the proper location. Geometrically, the loads will pull closer to the peach basket rather than further up the gear leg.

Now I feel better about hanging the engine with the fuselage sitting on the gear. Hope to post more soon.


Miscellaneous stuff

John Gaertner at Blue Swallow Aircraft finished machining the rudder bar castings. I can't wait until I can bolt them to the floorboards and really make some aeroplane noises in the shop!

Notice that both of the "legs" of each rudder casting has four lightening holes, but one "leg" is longer than the other. This is the rear rudder pedestal. It is the shorter of the two.

This is the front casting. John does nice work and I would highly recommend him.

I'm about to send the 26 X 4 rims out for re-spoking, but before I do, I wanted to address the bearing issue. When I put these wheels on a 1 1/2 in. axle, there was lots of play - the bearings were worn out. So, with a screwdriver, I pried the old bearings out.

MSC makes a 1 1/2 in. ID bronze flange bearing that will fit the rims with minimal machining. Next time I go to work, I'll get this bearing and post the info here.

Been busy moving tools, parts and machinery into the hangar, so minimal work has been done on the fuselage. I did install the tail with the help of some of the family.

Frank Schelling was kind enough to loan me a spare step, so when Brighton asked me where it went, I had to show him. The step belonged on the other side, but Brighton didn't want to hear it. He wanted it on this side and that was that. Kids.....

Randy Charles, from Wilmington OH sent me pictures of the neat scale Jenny he is building.

Randy writes:

Hello Brian!

I have been following you blog on the Jenny for the last year or so. This last summer I decided to build a large scale Jenny to fly. I wanted something that I could just cruise around with, stable and just do the occasional loop or stall turn. The drawings were done in July from a three view and construction began in November. Just to try and put this into scale for you, from the station 1 position to the farthest point on the rudder is 105 inches. Power is planned to be from either a 58cc or 80cc engine according to the final weight. Span on the Jenny will be 14 feet

As you can see from the photos I have tried to stay as close to scale construction as I could. I put a scale on the fuse last night and with the engine, tail group, servos, balancing weight and receiver it came to 25lbs. It took me nearly two weeks to get the landing gear brackets and peachbasket built. I had some difficulty trying to weld the thin 20 gage steel so most everything is brazed together. Well anyway, just thought you might like to see my project.

Randy Charles

Till next time,


Saturday, January 09, 2010

Fuselage moved

Well, I finally ran out of room in the garage. I've reached a point where a few things have to happen:

The engine must be installed so I can get the engine bearers aligned and the firewall drilled which allows the fuel tank to be installed.

The wings will arrive around the end of the month and I want to make sure everything fits.

The tail must be installed to finish the back of the turtledeck (I want a good fit).

So, a decision was made to move the Jenny to the hangar where I had more room. My friend and fellow Bucker owner Richard Epton volunteered to help.

It was really cold yesterday (yes, it snows in Georgia, too) but after Richard finished bonding with our family schnauzer, we got to work.

Out came the fuselage...on the gear!

My wife helped too. She wanted to know if she could have her garage back, but she knew the answer. There is already a crate with a tired set of Bucker Jungmann wings setting where her car should be. I have a very patient wife.

Onto the trailer.

And strapped in for the 10 minute ride to the hangar.


Now, back to work.

At least I'll have good company.

More soon