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.
Thanks Paul, for the Jenny flight. I hope to return the favor soon.