The Model D was one of the first planes to use ailerons for banking or rolling, instead of employing the Wright brothers’ system of wing warping.

This use of ailerons came at the suggestion of Alexander Graham Bell, benefactor and founder of the A.E.A. (Aerial Experiment association), founded in 1907, in which Curtiss joined the likes of Thomas Selfridge (the first Army pilot to fly an aeroplane) in an attempt “to get into the air.” The Model D was also the first airplane to takeoff from (November 1910) and land on (January 1911) an anchored ship. The famous early stunt pilot Lincoln Beachey, used a modified D to become one of the first pilots to loop the loop.

Specifications: Replica. Span: 27ft. 9in., Length: 20ft. 7in.. engine: 90 hp V-8 Curtiss OX-5 (original); 145 hp Continental flat six (replica). Top Speed: 58 mph.


* Compare to the 1917 Curtiss JN-4D “Jenny.”

* Compare the banking mechanism here (ailerons) to that of the 1903 Wright Flyer and the 1913 Etrich Taube (wing warping).

* Read Glenn Curtiss: Pioneer of Flight by C.R. Roseberry, and Strut & Axle Fall & Winter 1997.

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