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"

My Photo
Location: Peachtree City, Georgia, United States

Monday, June 28, 2010

Control Sticks

We got together again last night to work on the Jenny.

Brian Eberle got started sanding the turtledeck. Once this was finished, he applied the first coat of varnish.

Glen Marsh and I decided to work on the control sticks. The castings are attached to the torque tube with two steel rivets. The holes were drilled using the drill press.

Like this. We used a piece of 1 1/8 in tubing (same size as the torque tube) to help with the alignment and drilling.

Here you can see how the rivets cross through the tube. Later, they will be heated and bucked.

The assembly was then placed on the torque tube, measured and drilled.

Sometimes, you have to be a contortionist to get the proper alignment.

Here's the rear stick in place.

And the front stick. The small tube is temporary in nature and helped with the alignment.

More soon. Enjoy!


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Casting Brackets

I promised I would show how the castings were held in place, so here goes:

First, I got a piece of square tubing and measured 2 1/2 in.

Then the "top" was cut off on the bandsaw. This gives you a "U" channel.

Using a piece of spare 1 1/4 piece of tubing, the outline was traced onto the "U" Channel.

A V-cut to start on the bandsaw.

Followed by grinding to shape.

Trial fit on the spare tubing. A bit of hand work with a round file makes it fit closer.

The bracket was marked and drilled and test fit. See how it goes? Originally the Jenny used a U-bolt, like on the stabilizer, but this method is much easier. Also, the final bolts will go in the other way - head upside down - so the castellated nuts will show on the casting. Looks like a U-bolt that way.

The other bolts on the casting have a simple rectangular bracket cut on a bandsaw and filed to shape.

Here's how they go. There are two brackets per casting - left and right.

Slipped the front control stick on the torque tube. Fit perfectly! The excess tube will be cut later. Now it's time for some aeroplane noises.

More later. The kids have baseball games most of the day today and hope to get to the shop later in the weekend. Enjoy


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Control System

Last evening, after the kids were fed, dog was walked and the dishes put away, I headed for the hangar. Brian Eberle, a local pilot and fellow airplane nut offered to help me work on the Jenny. I wasted no time and handed him the dremel tool!

Brian cut out the stringers to accept the left rudder cable guide.

Where it was fitted and glued into place.

While Brian was doing that, I finished drilling the rear floorboards and inserted the brass screws.

Brian finished the rudder cable guide and went to work on the front floorboards.

Then we marked the floorboards for the drilling of the castings. This took a lot of time because we wanted wanted to make sure the castings were in the proper place, right down the center line of the airplane and centered laterally.

This was really exciting. Months had been spent making the castings and now it was time to install them for good.

The rudder bar pedestals were drilled first. The forward AN3 bolts straddle the floorboard brace and the "leg" bolts straddle the front tie rods. I'll show you an underside shot when I finish making the brackets.

Then the rear stick pedestal was installed. Here you can see how the curved torque tube clears the rudder bar.

And lastly, the front stick pedestal was installed.

It was an extremely productive day that extended past midnight! More soon.



Monday, June 21, 2010

Turtledeck cable plate and stick socket

Headed to the hangar this afternoon. First thing I did was clean up the place. I had left it a mess after the last time I worked on the Jenny so I took an hour to tidy up.

My goal today was to finish up the turtledeck and get it ready to varnish. There wasn't too much guidance on the routing of the rudder cables, so I ran a string from the rudder horns to the rudder bar. The string passes through the turtledeck about 20 inches from the last bulkhead.

A plate with an oval hole needed to be made to allow the cable to pass.

First, I cut a hole in the plate with the scroll saw.

Then the plate was put in place on the turtledeck and the stringers marked on the back side. Excess plywood was cut off with the bandsaw.

Here you can see the string running through the plate.

The plate is flush with the top of the stringers, so a 3/16 in notch had to be cut out of the stringers. I did this with a Dremel took and finished it with a chisel.

Here's the right side plate in the "notches".

I also promised a more detailed shot of the stick sockets. The inner ball had the torque tube removed so you could see the tapered pins machined to fit the curvature of the tube.

These pins stick out into a threaded "keeper" and the "keeper" is locked in place with a jam nut.

Pretty neat, eh?

More soon. Enjoy


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Wings arrive

The wings have arrived in Georgia!

Right at dusk, John and Paul Gaertner arrived from VA with four wings and a center section.

Here are the two upper wings. If you have not seen Jenny wings, they are woodworking pieces of art! They are really long, too.

The wings were then loaded into a cradle and stored until we're ready to mate them with the fuselage. That should happen soon. Stay tuned.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Stick Socket Castings

John did some more work on the stick castings. Almost done.

I'll show you the individual parts later. For now, enjoy


Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Control Stick sockets

John Gaertner sent me these pictures of the stick socket castings being machined at his shop.

First, he milled the face flat

And drilled the hole for the tapered pin clasp. This will be threaded eventually.

He also milled the top end square.

The side "ears" also needed to be milled square.

I'll post more pictures as the machining process continues.

My friend and fellow Bucker Jungmann owner John LaBarre sent me pictures of his new reproduction Sidcot suit.

John got the reproduction suit from Blue Swallow Aircraft.

More soon. Enjoy

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Got to fly one!

Last weekend, the wife, four kids and our elderly schnauzer dog loaded up the family van and headed for vacation in central Pennsylvania. We visited my parents and went to Hershey Park, but for me, the highlight of the trip was an opportunity to fly Paul Dougherty's Jenny.

Paul's Jenny is OX-5 powered, which means oiling the rockers before each flight.

Paul has been unbelievably helpful during the past few years - answering tons of Jenny questions or running to the hangar with a tape measure whenever I needed a dimention.

The Jenny is not a single pilot airplane. It's big and bulky and it takes several people to move it around. Here Mike Cilurso (Golden Age Air Museum Volunteer) waves us off.


Here's a view out the front. It was really neat seeing the OX-5 rockers bobbing up and down.

Several people have asked me "How did it fly?" My answer - "Better than I expected." Of course, I was expecting it to fly like a 1917 aeroplane and it did. I was surprised at how sensitive it was in pitch, sloppy in roll and firm with the rudder. Actually, the thing just kinda wandered around, forever hunting for that perfect bit of stability.

Another thing that surprised me - with a tail skid and no brakes, I was expecting ground handling to be a challenge. It was not the case. The Jenny steered easily and definitively even at idle power. Taxiing was a piece of cake. Of course there was very little wind, but for the most part, the rudder was plenty powerful.

Here's a view of the Pennsylvania countryside.

Below is a short video shot from the front cockpit.

Here you go - a real life Curtiss Jenny sitting in the green Pennsylvania grass - what more could anyone want?

The other purpose of the visit was to learn how to make the five-tuck splices in 1 x 19 cable. I read about making these splices and they seemed intimidating. But, Paul showed me how to do it and it was no longer intimidating!

If you're even in Central Pennsylvania, the Golden Age Air museum is worth seeing. As a matter of fact, their summer airshow happens next weekend (June 12th). It's an entertaining show filled with old airplanes, gangsters, Keystone Kops, Flapper girls, nutty professors and a post office with it's own copper still. Stay tuned for coverage right here.
Or, just visit
Thanks Paul, for the Jenny flight. I hope to return the favor soon.