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Jenny lessons

airscape Magazine

Feature photo (above) by Bill Larkins | Flickr  CC BY-SA 2.0



How to fly…

Your new JN-4D


The Curtiss Jenny hardly needs an introduction. Designed for Glenn Curtiss by Benjamin Thomas, who had worked at Sopwith Aviation, the original JN1 was a heavy, underwhelming performer. The subsequent JN2 and JN3 improvements weren’t much better.

However, Curtiss hit gold with the JN4. Mild-mannered, manoeuvrable and robust, the definitive JN-4D variant made up the bulk of a 6,813 airframe production run. An estimated 95% of all American pilot trainees flew a ‘Jenny’ during WW1 – Jimmy Doolittle bent several JN2s and JN4s during his army career – and uncounted folks were introduced to aviation by surplus JN-4 barnstormers throughout the 1920s.

Wings for a week’s wages?

Surplus Jennys were all but given away when hostilities ended – flooding the market for as little as $50, although $200 to $500 was more typical. That’s an airplane…

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