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, April 23, 2014


Hi Everyone,

I have not posted much lately. I apologize.  We have been flying the Jenny quite a bit and I didn't want to bore anyone with posts that read:

Flew Jenny today
Flew Jenny today
Flew Jenny today.

I felt like unless something relevant came along, there was no need to post. Eventually I will share some really good videos of the Jenny in the air. We simply have not taken any worthy footage yet until a visit by Sleeping Dog Productions recently. (see below).

We have been spending time tinkering - oil changes, leaky valve covers, a flat tire....stuff like that. I guess you never just "get in and fly away" with an airplane this old.

One thing we noticed is that the bungee cords had been weakening.  When we installed the cords, we did it the old fashioned way - wound rib stitch cord around the lose ends and gave it a good coat of shellac.  This method didn't seem to work very well.  We didn't put the bungee cords on with enough tension to start (stretching as we wrapped) and not enough wraps with the rib stitch cord.

Live and learn.

So, the main landing gear got new bungees and we wrapped them with copious amounts of cord.

In the tail, we decided to go modern...

The wraps were held in place with hose clamps!  Sorry.


Since we were flying so much, it was time for another oil change.


And tracked down a small leak at the oil temperature bulb.


Somehow, we sprung a leak in the tube of the left wheel, so off it came.


And a new tube installed.

Our youngest son Brighton decided to polish the propeller.

He also got to sit through an engine run as we adjusted the idle setting.  About that setting.....


One of my complaints was that the engine hesitated when accelerating from idle.  It would shake, backfire and run rough for a few seconds before running smoothly.  I knew the NAD4 carburetor did not have an accelerator pump, but rather a small chamber filled with fuel that was accessed when the butterfly valves were opened with the throttle.  I wasn't happy with this set up.

So, I went into my Hisso manuals.  There was no mention of an idle RPM.

Since there was no guidance in the book, I set up the engine to idle around 350 RPM.  I was told these engines idle slowly so I used the idle speed of the OX-5 engine, another big water cooled V8.  

It finally took a few phone calls to Paul Dougherty at the Golden Age Air Museum and Kevin Connor in Tulsa, OK to figure it out.  Everyone told me "set the idle RPM high enough to where it runs smoothly, but slow enough that you don't move".  No brakes, remember.  The consensus was 500 RPM.

Ours is now set at 480 RPM and I'm happy with the results!

John Gaertner sent me these vintage Jenny pictures seen on eBay.  I love this one.  Could you imagine landing in a field of high grass and selling rides all weekend?

This one is a Standard J1, but you get the idea.

Last weekend, Sleeping Dog Productions came to the Museum and did a lot of filming.  They are planning on making several videos for Flying Magazine's online section.


 Also, Stan Smith sent me these photographs of the Jenny model he is building.  I was blown away!  Stan wrote:


Thought I would send you some progress pictures.  Have really been enjoying reading your blog and seeing pictures and videos of the flights.  This is the first time that I put the plane together and did a weigh in, (9 3/4 lbs. so far with batteries, motor, and servos inside)

Stan Smith

Also, Jim Landoni sent me pictures of the unbelievably scale Jenny model his is building as well.

Enjoy it all. I'll try to post more often again.




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