Glenn Curtiss was one of the most significant names in pioneer aviation and was a rival of the Wright brothers. Starting as a motorcycle builder and racer, Curtiss’ successes caught public attention. In 1907 he established a world land speed record of 136.3 MPH on one of his motorcycles. Captain Thomas Scott Baldwin lured Curtiss into the world of aviation by having him design an engine to power a dirigible. This led Curtiss to further experiment with flight and he developed numerous aircraft designs shortly thereafter. One of Curtiss’ most significant contributions to aviation was the development of the aileron. The Wright brothers claimed Curtiss had violated the patent on their wing warping system, so Curtiss developed the superior aileron system which eventually replaced wing warping altogether.
In the winter of 2003, the Rhinebeck Aerodrome Museum was invited to participate in the Australian International Airshow.With ideal field conditions, Aerodrome pilot Dan Taylor made the first ever circuit of the field in this aircraft. The 1911 Hall Scott was believed to be the earliest engine to power an airplane in Australia since before WW1.
The Aerodrome’s Curtiss Pusher was built in 1976 and is powered by an original 1911, 80 HP Hall-Scott engine obtained from the Smithsonian Institution. It utilizes the original Curtiss control system. The shoulder yoke controls the ailerons as the pilot leans from side to side. Rotation of the control wheel controls the rudder. Moving the wheel fore and aft control both forward and rear elevators. The right pedal controls the throttle, a center pedal is for the front wheel friction brake, and the left pedal operates an emergency “claw” brake located in the center of the main landing gear.
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