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Glenn Curtiss

From Academic Kids

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Glenn H. Curtiss on the cover of Time magazine on October 13, 1924

Glenn Hammond Curtiss (May 21, 1878July 23, 1930) was an aviation pioneer and founder of the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company, now part of Curtiss-Wright Corporation.

Contents

Birth

He was born in 1878 in Hammondsport, New York to Frank Richmond Curtiss and Lua Andrews.

Marriage

Curtiss married Lena Pearl Neff, daughter of Guy L. Neff, in Hammondsport on on March 7, 1898.

Early career

As a bicycle racer, Western Union bicycle messenger and bicycle shop owner Curtiss, as the internal combusion engine became available, became interested in motorcycles. He began manufacturing motor-bicycles with his own single cylinder internal combustion engines, the first with a tomato can for a carburetor. In 1903 he set a world speed record by averaging 64 mph (103 km/h) for one mile (1.6 km). In 1907 he set a new record of 136.27 mph (219.31 km/h), with his 40-hp V8 powered motorcyle of his own design. At this time he was America's No. 1 maker of high-performance motorcycles.

Wright brothers

In August 1906, while with Tom Baldwin and his airship in Dayton, Curtiss visited the Wright brothers (after they'd help corrall their airship) and discussed aeronautical motors and their propellers, a subject of mutual interest. Because Curtiss made America's finest lightweight motors, Alexander Graham Bell persuaded him to join his Aerial Experiment Association in 1907 to build aircraft, succeeding with America's first public and official airplane flight on July 4, 1908.

Competition

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Glenn H. Curtiss at the Grande Semaine d'Aviation in France in 1909

In August 1909, Curtiss competed in the world's first air meet, the Grande Semaine d'Aviation flying contest at Reims, France, organised by the Aero-Club de France. The Wrights, selling their machines in Berlin at the time, did not compete, but nevertheless sued Curtiss, alleging their patent was being infringed. He continued, completing a 10 km course at 46.5 mph (75 km/h) in just under 16 minutes, 6 seconds faster than runner-up Louis Bleriot and won the Gordon Bennett Cup. For this he became, after Bleriot, the No. 2 pilot in Europe (Wrights Nos. 14 and 15).

The other Pulitzer prize

On May 29, 1910, Curtiss flew from Albany, New York, along the Hudson River, to New York City, to win a $10,000 prize backed by publisher Joseph Pulitzer. He covered 137 miles (220 km) in 153 minutes, averaging nearly 55 mph (89 km/h), then flew over Manhattan Island, and circled the Statue of Liberty. Curtiss received the first U.S. pilot's license in 1911, the Wrights were Nos. 4 and 5.

Patent dispute

The patent dispute with the Wright brothers continued for several years until it was resolved during WW1, just after Wright ceased making airplanes due to their "killer" reputation (the last Wright was a single copy, made in 1916).

World War I

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Coshocton Tribune, Coshocton, Ohio, July 24, 1930

With the involvement of the US in World War I in 1917, the U.S. government gave a contract to Curtiss to build airplanes for the US Army.

Death

He died in 1930 in Buffalo, New York, from complications after appendix surgery, and was buried in Pleasant Valley Cemetery in Hammondsport, New York.

Timeline

  • 1878 Birth in Hammondsport, New York
  • 1898 Marriage
  • 1900 Manufactures Hercules bicycles
  • 1901 Motorcycle designer and racer
  • 1903 1st American motorcycle champion at 56.4 s/mile
  • 1904 Thomas Scott Baldwin mounts Curtiss motorcycle engine on a hydrogen-filled dirigible
  • 1904 Set ten mile world speed record
  • 1904 Invented handlebar throttle control
  • 1905 G.H. Curtiss Manufacturing Company, Inc. created
  • 1905 Set world speed records for 1, 2, and 3 miles on motorcycle
  • 1906 Curtiss writes the Wright brothers offering them an aeronautical motor, and meets them - by chance - three months later.
  • 1907 Curtiss joins Alexander Graham Bell in experimenting in aircraft
  • 1907 Set world speed record of 77.6 mph on motorcycle
  • 1907 Set world speed record at 136.36 mph in his V8 motorcycle Ormond Beach, Fl
  • 1908 First Army dirigible flight (Curtiss as flight engineer)
  • 1908 First flight of an aircraft controlled by ailerons
  • 1908 Lead designer and pilot of "June Bug" July 4,1908 First public flight in North America
  • 1909 Produced and sold first private aircraft in US
  • 1909 Won first international air speed record with 46.5 mph in Reims, France
  • 1909 First US licensed aircraft manufacturer.
  • 1910 Long distance flying record of 150 miles from Albany to New York City, first airmail
  • 1909 Established first flying school in U.S. and Exhibition Company
  • 1910 First (simulated) bombing runs from an aircraft (Lake Keuka)
  • 1910 First firearm use from aircraft, piloted by Curtiss
  • 1910 First radio communication with aircraft in flight (Curtiss biplane)
  • 1910 Trained Blanche Stuart Scott, the first American female pilot
  • 1910 First successful takeoff from a U.S. Navy ship
  • 1911 First landing on a ship.
  • 1911 Pilot license #1 issued for his "June Bug" flight
  • 1911 Ailerons (airplane control surfaces) patented
  • 1911 First successful pontoon aircraft in US
  • 1911 Hydroaeroplane A-1 Triad purchased by US Navy
  • 1911 First dual pilot control
  • 1911 First retractable landing gear on his Hydroaeroplane
  • 1911 His first aircraft sold to US Army on April 27th
  • 1912 Developed and flew the first flying boat on Lake Keuka
  • 1914 to 1918 Produced 6,000 "Jennys" and may other models including flying boats
  • 1919 Curtiss NC-4 flying boat crosses the Atlantic
  • 1919 Commenced private aircraft production with the Oriole
  • 1921 Developed Hialeah, Florida
  • 1923 Developed Miami Springs, Florida (named in 1930)
  • 1926 Developed Opa-Locka, Florida
  • 1930 Death, laid to rest in Pleasant Valley Cemetery, Hammondsport, NY

Selected coverage in Time magazine

  • Time, October 29, 1923, "Speed Limit"
  • Time, October 13, 1924, "At Dayton"

External links

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