Curtiss JN-4 Jenny
First Albuquerque Visit: 1919
The Curtiss JN-4 is possibly North America’s most famous World War One aircraft. It was widely used during the war to train pilots, and it is estimated 95% of all trainees had trained in a JN-4. The US version was called “Jenny”, a derivation from its official designation. It was a twin-seat (student in front of instructor), dual-control biplane. Its tractor propeller and maneuverability made it ideal for initial pilot training with a 90 hp Curtis XO-5 V-8 engine giving the plane a top speed of 75 mph and a service ceiling of 6,500 ft. The Curtiss “Jenny” began production in 1914 with a new design and through a series of improvements becoming the famous JN-4.
After World War One, thousands of surplus Jennys were sold on the civilian market, Surplus US Army aircraft were sold (some still in their unopened packing crates) for as little as $50. With private and commercial flying in North America unhampered by regulations concerning their use, pilots found the Jenny’s stability and slow speed made it ideal for stunt flying and aerobatic displays in the barnstorming era in the 1920’s. Some of the planes were still flying into the 1930s. Many aerial circuses were formed around the country, and several came to Albuquerque for performances. The JN-4 Jenny, AC # C-329, is of one of the aircraft that participated in the air show for the Liberty Bond Drive of 1919 held in Albuquerque.
The Curtis JN-3 was first aircraft to be used by the US Army when the 1st Aero Squadron participated in the “punitive expedition” by going after Pancho Villa in Mexico in a campaign beginning on March 12, 1916.
The photo above shows a Curtiss Jenny at Kelly Field in Texas. A total of 6,813 Jennys were eventually purchased by the US Army.
A restored Curtiss Jenny on display at the Air Force Museum.
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