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

Wednesday, November 07, 2012


Today, the top of the lower wings were wet sanded.  Hopefully, the weather will warm up sufficiently so we can spray the final coat of silver Polytone on Sunday.

This is the last of the spraying!  Everything will be painted then.

Dorian Walker sent me pictures of his Jenny project. They had just installed the radiator shell.

Lastly, I got a nice email from Russ Felt, who included these pictures.  Russ said:

I am enjoying following your progress on the Jenny.  My father entered WWI and was sent to Kelly Field (where he took these pictures). Mother later flew in a barnstorming Jenny and she would never fly again after that.  You have reminded me of part of my Dad’s life.  Thanks -  Russ Felt

 Picture of Russ Felt's father during WWI

I add the following from a biography I wrote about my Father based upon his recollections of his military experience.  I don’t know why he never ended up flying but he probably didn’t qualify and he never told me.
On Aug 10, 1917, with three friends...Charlie enlisted in the Army...ending up in the Army Air Corps.  He was sent to Kelly Air Field in San Antonio , Texas .  Pilots were trained in Curtiss Jenny (JN-4) biplanes.  The airfield was just a big pasture with hangars around it.  Planes took off in every direction.   

He talked about a centrifuge that would spin a pilot candidate in circles at high speed to see if he could handle the forces of gravity and getting dizzy.  He laughed at those who vomited as they spun in circles, spraying everything and everyone.  

 He saw a JN-4 crash land upside down and the pilot survived.  On another occasion a JN-4 landed safely on a ranch away from the airfield. By the time a truck got there to tow the plane to the airfield, cattle had eaten the Irish Linen (40-40 thread) from the wings.  The glue on the linen must have tasted good.  Another JN-4 crashed straight down into the ground, the pilot crawled out alive but with broken legs. 

Dad never said why he did not fly.  The troops lived in tent cities and Dad reported much gambling and music.  He said the latrines were six feet long and six feet wide, open holes in the ground.  Several troops returned home one night drunk.  They had just gone into their tents when a fire broke out.  At the first yell of ‘fire’, everyone ran and one trooper fell into the latrine up to his neck.  He was pulled out, put in a shower, and forever after was referred to as the ‘shitty’ MP.

Charlie saw Eddie Stinson, famed WWI ace and aviator fly at ground level, then up and over hangars,  providing a great show for the troops.  One of those hangars is still at Kelly and is a museum with a Jenny and an ambulance on display.  45 days after arriving at Kelly, Dad was sent to Austin , Texas for flight training but never completed it.   

The photo of Dad in uniform was taken at Austin .  He was then transferred to Americus , Georgia where he was a warehouseman and he worked with the Lewis machine gun.  He was about to receive orders to France when the war ended and he was ‘mustered’ out 27 March 1919.

   Looks like a Handley Page 400 to me -  BK

He brought home the hub and part of one blade of the propeller blade and a friend painted a Jenny on it.

I hope you enjoyed the story.  Thanks, Russ for sharing it.

More soon. Enjoy



Anonymous Russ said...

I had little idea how many JN-4s were being re-built. Many years ago while visiting Hill AFB museum, their Jenny was parked in a hangar neatly fitting just below the one engine of an SR-71, some contrast. I do not tire of considering my Dad's experience in the Army Air Corps- Russ

6:04 AM  

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