It’s been 100 years since Glenn Curtis first flew his Model E Flying boat. His design of the Model E featured the entire fuselage as the hull of the airplane. On September 15, 2012 at 2:00 pm in Depot Park, Hammondsport, NY, one of the members of the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum (click here) will be flying an exact reproduction of the original Model E. The only known remains of any of the original Model E’s is in the Smithsonian Institution and all that is left of that aircraft is the hull (click here).
I made a special trip to the Glenn H. Cutiss Museum in Hammondsport to check out the Model E before they tried to fly it ( I’m an optimist but I know that things can go wrong with experiments!). At first I couldn’t find the Model E flying boat. I had to ask one of the members of the museum and she showed me where the Model E was hidden behind some room dividers. The plane was already up on a trailer cradle which will be used to transport the aircraft to Depot Park. I could only get a picture of the tail and the pusher engine, but there she was, already for flight!
The Model E plane weights 1,890 lbs. and is powered by a 90 HP Curtiss OX V8 cylinder engine. While I was wondering around the museum workshop shop, I spotted another Model E engine on the bench and I was able to get a good close-up picture of that engine. In the workshop, work has already begun on a Curtis Fledgling ca. 1929.
On display in another part of the museum was a reproduction of the Curtiss 1911 A-1 Triad which was the Navy’s first aircraft. This reproduction was flown in 2004. From the picture, you can get the idea about where the pilot sat in relation to the pusher engine which was behind him. The aileron controls were operated by leaning in the direction that you wanted the plane to turn.
I am really excited about watching the flight of the Model E on September 15. In 1911 Glenn Curtiss was awarded the Collier Trophy award for developing the hydroaeroplane. There is a 1908 photo of Curtiss, Baldwin, Bell, Selfridge, and McCurdy pictured together at the Snug Harbor Restaurant, just up the lake along route 54A. Real pioneers in the history of aviation.