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

Friday, July 29, 2011


I have not forgotten about the Jenny! Ron and I did a presentation at Oshkosh the other day which took a bunch of time to research. Plus, things got busy at work so I suspect Jenny progress will resume next week.

Till then, enjoy these stills from the Jimmy Stewart movie The Spirit of St. Louis. John Gaertner watched it the other day ans sent me these pictures of the Jenny used in the movie.

Also, if anyone out there is interested in buying a Jenny, Phil Mintari had decided to sell his machine. From :

1917 CURTISS JENNY JN-4DACCEPTING OFFERS This Curtiss Jenny SN/4072 was manufactured in late 1917 delivered in early April 1918 by Liberty Iron Works of Scramento CA, who had a 150 built contract from Curtiss Aircraft before the war ended in 1918. This aircraft by SN was based out of Love Field in Dallas, TX and has a TTA of 175.5 hrs verified by Smithsonian archives. Aircraft restoration was completed June 22, 2011. Aircraft is available for inspection by appointment only. Located in Ingram, TX. Contact Phil Mintari at 830 377 0533 for information and/or appointment. • Contact Danny Mintari, Owner - located Tomball, TX USA • Telephone: 281 450 3713 . • Posted July 22, 2011

You can also see a clip of the restoration on youtube:



Sunday, July 17, 2011

Engine mount drilled. Gascolator

For a long time, I thought about how to drill the engine bearers. Should I just mark them a certain distance apart, drill and hope the holes match the engine case? Should I make an elaborate jig and drill them with the engine on the plane? That way I know the engine is aligned with the center line of the fuselage.

I decided to do it this way.

I took a little piece of tubing and ground the one end sharp. Then, I took a C-clamp and gently pressed the tubing into the engine bearer wood.

The sharp tube made a nice indentation in the wood marking the spot to drill.

A few minutes on the drill press and the engine bearers are ready for their long AN7 bolts.

We had another issue to solve. Jennies had a simple fuel system - from the tank to the carburetor was a direct line. Because we know so much more today, I wanted a gascolator to catch any dirt and water that could accumulate in the fuel. So, we decided to install one in the line between the tank and the wobble pump.

The gascolator would be mounted on the back side of the firewall. Since the firewall is curved, brackets would have to be made. Brian Eberle took care of that.

This is how the bracket will mount.

Here is a trial fit with the gascolator in place.

More soon. Enjoy


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Here is something neat - I got an e-mail from John Witt the other day saying he was going to be in the area and wondered if it was OK to stop by and see the Jenny. He was attending the scale model airplane meet in Dayton, Ohio and drove to Atlanta afterwards. As you can see, the model is a thing of beauty. I now know why he placed second in the competition, losing to a Cosmic Wind racer by one point!

We had a wonderful visit and I really enjoyed chatting about Jennies and aeroplanes. I can't wait to see what this Seattle craftsman builds next!

John Gaertner also came to Atlanta to help cover the Jenny wings and tail. He brought with him a pair of Avirex reproduction WWI flying boots. Hey, they just had to touch a Jenny rudder bar, didn't they? And the boots happen to be my size.

While we were waiting, I built the cross piece on the lower longeron near the tail skid. The fabric attaches to this piece. Here is the cross piece temporarily held in place by the bracket.

Another view before the other bracket was made. Before the day was done, the cross piece had two coats of varnish and the brackets were primed.

Brian Eberle made the plate in the tail. This was not on an original Jenny. After studying a few Jenny weight and balance paperwork, because of the heavy Hisso engine, we may have to add weight to the tail. I won't know until we weigh the aeroplane. But, just in case, here is a plate that could be used to hold some lead. This piece was also primed and awaiting the gloss black paint.

Messed around a bit fitting the oil tank. More work here.

OK, I know several of you have e-mailed me begging to leave the Jenny uncovered. Sorry. We are going to fly this thing. Besides, it is too late. The covering process has begun.

We were fortunate to have Hualdo Mendoza, a Poly Fiber technical rep, come by and show us how the professionals do it.

John Gaertner got his hands dirty too.

As did Brian Eberle.

Here is the rudder with the Poly Fiber fabric standing by.

One wing covered.

All four wings covered.

By the end of today, all the wings and tail were under fabric. Hopefully, some rib stitching will be done tomorrow. Till then...



Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Upper wing bolt fitting

On the upper wing, last outer strut (where the rear king post attaches) there is a bracket that holds the two bolts in place. I only had one original piece, so another one had to be made.

Brian Eberle volunteered to make the simple bending jig.

So, with the heat of the torch softening the steel, a few blows with a hammer bent the lip over the jig.

Original on the left. Reproduction on the right.

This is how the bracket goes.

Also, I made a paper template of the fuselage side. This marked the location of the elevator cable exit locations. When the fabric is put on the airplane, I'll just have to hold this paper up against it and cut out the holes.

We are starting to cover the wings tomorrow. I'll post more soon.