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Curtiss JU-4D 'Jenny'
Curtiss JU-4D 'Jenny'
Resource Typeimage
TitleCurtiss JU-4D 'Jenny'
Coverage / Year1917
DescriptionThe Curtiss JU-4D 'Jenny' is a single-engine biplane. The 'Jenny's' fuselage is painted black and silver, its propeller is black, and its wings are yellow. The plane's height is approximately ten feet, the 'Jenny's' fuselage is twenty-six feet long, and the wingspan is forty-six feet.
InterpretationThe first of two Curtiss Model J prototypes flew in May 1914. By that September it was the fastest aircraft in the United States, reaching a speed of 85.7 miles per hour. A month later the Curtiss Model J set a new altitude record of 7, 441 feet. The United States military took notice and incorporated a Model J (nicknamed the 'Jenny') into the United States Army Air Service. In March 1916 the 'Jenny' was used as an observation aircraft to detect Mexican bandit gang movements into the United States along the U.S./ Mexican border. The 'Jenny' was the very first airplane used to fly an operational war mission for the United States. During World War I (1914-1919) more than 8, 000 'Jennies' were built. They became the most important training airplane used by the military of the United States, Canada, and Britain. However, the plane saw no combat service during the war. After World War I the 'Jenny' became the first airplane to introduce flying to the public on a mass scale. Both in the United States and Europe, barnstorming air shows became the rage. 'Jenny' pilots would land in fields to give farm families a ride, a stunt referred to as 'barnstorming.' Passenger flights in the Jennies usually cost around twelve dollars for a ten to fifteen-minute ride, though soon the price dropped to around three dollars. 'Jennies' also served as the stage for death defying feats such as wing walking and dangling from the undercarriage. Through the use of rope ladders or by the technique of interlocking wings, the stunt riders would move from one aircraft to another. This barnstorming fad lasted until the mid-1930s. The 'Jenny' popularized aviation tremendously by providing thousands of Americans with their first sight of, or flight in, an airplane. Among the highlights in the history of the 'Jennies' was their participation in the Air Show at A Century of Progress, Chicago's World's Fair, 1933-1934. This Curtiss JN-4D 'Jenny' was donated to Museum of Science and Industry in 1933.
Lesson Plans / ThemesHow we learn about communities;
Learning Standards16 History; 10-12 Science; 13 Science, Technology and Society;
Author or CreatorCurtiss, Glenn Hammond, 1878-1930
Other ContributorsCurtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company, inc.
SourceMunson, Kenneth, and John W.R. Taylor. The History of Aviation. New York: Crown Publishers, 1978; Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Accession File #33.888
Subject / KeywordsAirplanes; Biplanes; Air transportation; Aviation; Barnstorming; World's Fair; A Century of Progress
Collection PublisherMuseum of Science and Industry, Chicago;
Further InformationFor any further information related to this record, please contact the Collection Publisher. See for more information about this project.
Rights Management Statement
Resource Identifier33.888
CONTENTdm file name39028151982002_CURTISSJ.jpg
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